Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Baby’s fight for life ends

Baby’s fight for life ends

Baby’s fight for life ends

After undergoing several surgeries to save her life, Dana Beerdsen, the 19-month-old daughter of murdered Dutch UN worker Daphna Beerdsen, succumbed to brain injuries and died in a Bangkok hospital late on Wednesday.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangkok and Bangkok General Hospital, where the toddler was sent after suffering head trauma in the same home invasion that killed her mother, confirmed her death.

The tragic end to the horrific crime means that the suspect, 35-year-old Chea Pin, will likely face double murder charges.

“When we receive the official report [of Dana’s death], we will add a murder charge against the suspect,” said Mom Sitha, Phnom Penh foreign police chief. “A second court date has not yet been set.”

Pin was charged in Phnom Penh Municipal Court last Saturday with intentional murder with aggravated circumstances for the murder of Daphna Beerdsen. He is being held at Prey Sar prison.

When police first arrived on the morning of April 28 at the Chamkarmon district home rented by Beerdsen, a 31-year-old UN-Habitat worker, and her partner, Joris Oele, she was discovered stabbed to death. Dana lay nearby, clinging to life with critical head injuries.

Police believe Pin entered Beerdsen’s home to steal a bicycle. When Beerdsen screamed for help, Pin allegedly stabbed her six times with a screwdriver. He also hit Dana in the head, according to police.

Dana was airlifted to Bangkok General, where she received surgery and intensive care for nine days. Her father, Oele, an international consultant with UN-Habitat, flew with her and remained in Bangkok.

Dana died at 9:45pm on Wednesday, according to an email sent to members of the Chabad Jewish Center of Cambodia in the capital’s Daun Penh district. Beerdsen had been an active member there for nearly a year, said Rabbi Bentzion Butman, who runs the centre.

“With great sadness we inform you that little Dana did not survive the brutal attack,” the email to members of the roughly 100-person community said.

The exact cause of Dana’s death was not immediately clear yesterday, as a member of Bangkok General’s office staff said she could only confirm the child’s death. The hospital staffer cited a family request for privacy.

A funeral for Beerdsen in Phnom Penh will leave this morning at 8:30am from the morgue at Khmer Soviet Hospital and head towards Phnom Penh International Airport, the email said.

Dana’s local funeral will begin in Boeung Keng Kang commune in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district. Both will be buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Amsterdam, Holland.

A statement from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Phnom Penh expressed the feelings of fellow staffers.

“All of us at UN-Habitat and in the UN family at large are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of the child,” the statement said.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and especially the father, Mr. Oele, over the loss of his daughter.”

In an email sent to members of the Jewish centre soon after Daphna Beerdsen’s death, Rabbi Butman described the last personal moments he spent with her at a Passover Seder, for which she had cut short her Khmer New Year holiday plans to attend.

“What we have lost is incredible,” Butman wrote.

“Daphna’s patience and dedication; her endless care and love; her principles and consistency were outstanding.”

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