A Kampong Cham man who slit his wife’s throat is believed to have collapsed and died after fleeing into the forest on Monday, according to police.
Lach Tha, 38, allegedly killed his wife, Sar Srey, 26, with a knife in Srey Santhor district in the early hours of Monday morning before making off on foot and mysteriously falling unconscious about two kilometres from the scene of the crime. The deaths leave their 10-year-old daughter orphaned.
The case is at least the tenth high-profile domestic murder so far this year. As in several previous cases, local authorities were aware of ongoing physical abuse and failed to intervene.
Tha returned to his home drunk and was violent towards his wife on an almost daily basis, according to villagers, but police did not intervene as there were “no serious injuries”, according to Prek Dombok Commune Police Chief Meng Thai Eang.
District Police Chief Sok Yen could not reach any conclusions about either death, but said the alcohol-fuelled bursts of domestic violence were often triggered by an unpaid loan of $3,500 Srey had taken out.
Tha and Srey had an argument about the debt on the night she was murdered, and nearby neighbours heard screams for help. When they arrived, Srey was already dead and Tha was gone.
Thai Eang said the suspect was taking medication for a mental illness, but there was no medical record of his mental condition, and that he drank all day prior to the murder without eating.
Police had ruled out suicide as there were no marks on his body.