The fire that killed a pregnant woman and her four children in Kampong Chhnang province on May 9 turns to be a murder committed by the husband, according to the NGO Child Protect Unit (CPU).
The woman, who was three months pregnant, and her four children aged 3 to 9 were killed when her house filled with second-hand cloths caught fire in Boribor district's Khun Rang commune.
On May 11, the CPU’s Forensic Services Team in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior's Forensic Department and Kompong Chhnang provincial police launched a probe into the incidents and determined that it was foul play.
CPU said Nun Sareth, 38, will now be referred to the Kompong Chhnang Court on five counts of murder.
“It was clear from the initial forensic examination of both the deceased and crime scene that something very wrong had occurred at the premises and the defendants' account of how the fire started and what happened simply did not make sense,” said James McCabe, the CPU's director of operations.
“This is a heinous case that has affected us all, the loss of so many young lives. I want to thank everyone involved in this investigation; it was only through the dedication and commitment of all the investigators and forensic experts that we were able to gather sufficient evidence to ensure this individual was prosecuted for this heinous crime,” he added.
McCabe said there was solid evidence to support a conviction against him.
Deputy provincial police chief Pol Vuthy said the police and CPU investigated the crime scene and the background of the dead woman. They then questioned Sareth using psychological methods. After three days of interrogation, the suspect confessed that he had caused the fire.
“According to the husband’s answers, the fire was not caused by an electrical malfunction or gas explosion while cooking. It was a premeditated murder. He was jealous of his wife and that led to violence, setting fire to the house, and killing his wife and four children,” Vuthy said.
Sareth is now in police custody before being sent to court for further legal procedures.
Meanwhile, King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath also donated some assistance to the family of the perished, including 50kg rice, tent, mosquito net, clothes, canned fish, noodles and four million riel ($1,000), according the Ministry of Information.