A DUTCH woman working for the United Nations was found stabbed to death on Monday morning in an attack that also left her 19-month-old baby daughter in critical condition.
Daphna Beerdsen was found by the family’s babysitter lying alongside her child in their rented house in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district shortly before 9am.
Police at the scene said Beerdsen, whose LinkedIn profile says she worked as a consultant on climate change projects for UN Habitat, died from several stab wounds. Her child is in a critical condition after being stabbed multiple times with what appeared to be the same weapon, which has not been recovered.
“The baby was badly stabbed in the head, back and waist and was sent to Kantha Bopha Children’s hospital,” said Chan Sahuth, an officer with the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigation Department.
“[The child] is in a bad condition with a blood clot in the brain and is being prepared to be forwarded to Thailand,” he said.
Police are still investigating at the scene of the murder in Tonle Bassac commune and have not ruled out robbery as a motive. However, police said they found no evidence of forced entry.
Beerdsen’s husband, Joris Oele, 34, returned home at about 1pm and was escorted into the courtyard of his house by a British embassy official.
Oele, who also works for UN Habitat, left the capital on a work trip to Preah Sihanouk province on Sunday, according to neighbours.