Police have apprehended a third suspect in the case of the suspected rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Kampot province, and have also found what they believe to be a second murder weapon.
Last Monday evening, victim Khun Nay disappeared in the Lboeuk commune of Chhouk district. On Wednesday at 6am, her mutilated corpse was found by her elder sister in a rice field a few hundred metres from her house, with grotesque injuries to her neck and face.
The first suspect, a 17-year-old boy, was brought in by police that day for questioning. Two days later police in Phnom Penh apprehended a second teenage suspect. According to Kampot deputy police chief Sau Kimoeun, both boys have been released.
The new suspect, identified as 24-year-old San No, was arrested on Saturday at 9am. He was found inside his house, located only 15 metres from the victim’s residence, where he lives with his wife and child, according to Lboeuk commune police chief Min Phal.
Phal said Kampot police had told him that they were “almost 100 per cent sure” this suspect was the killer.
Though the suspect has denied killing the girl, investigators found “blood on his collar and some scratches on his face and neck”, said Kampot deputy police chief Kimoeun.
“We will send him to the provincial court on Monday to charge him with rape and murder,” he added.
According to Lboeuk commune police chief Phal, villagers told investigators that they had witnessed the suspect involved in an argument with the victim on the night of her disappearance in which the victim allegedly remarked that the suspect had “an ugly face; no one loves you”, to which the suspect allegedly replied, “Wait and see.”
A fisherman who was out in the rice field that night told investigators that around 8pm he heard a ruffling in the distance. When he pointed his torch towards the noise, he saw a man running from a woman lying down in the brush. He thought he was witnessing a pair of hiding, spooked lovers, he said.
James McCabe, director of the Phnom Penh-based Child Protection Unit, which has been assisting Kampot police in the investigation, said that a new suspected weapon found at the crime scene on Saturday, a 10-centimetre wooden plank, had been ripped off from the suspect’s own fence. “It fit like a glove” on the fence, he said.
Another suspected weapon, a bloodied palm frond, had been found on Wednesday.
The blood found on the new suspect’s clothes would be sent to Vietnam for DNA testing, he added.
Additional reporting by Niem Chheng