Oddar Meanchey provincial police on May 19 referred a man to court after arresting him on May 18 for allegedly raping and murdering a 17-year-old girl on May 15 in Chongkal district’s Krasaing commune.

The provincial police’s criminal bureau chief Yin Nareth said the suspect, 23, was caught while trying to flee.

“He admitted to committing the crime alone and evidence is consistent with the statement. So, it hasn’t been a difficult investigation,” he said.

Citing relatives of the victim, Nareth said her mother had died and her father had remarried so that his three daughters and son could be taken care of. The victim was the youngest sibling. She and the suspect knew each other as they lived in the same village.

During questioning, the suspect told police that on May 15 he saw the girl riding a bicycle alone to pick black plums in a forest 10km away from the village and followed her on a motorcycle to the forest, where he raped her.

After the rape, he dragged her to a nearby pond where he drowned her before hiding her body in nearby bushes. The man then dropped the bicycle into another pond 200m away from the scene and returned to the village.

Concerned about the girl’s long absence, relatives and other villagers searched for her and later found her body.

Nareth said provincial criminal police investigating the case had watched the village in a bid to identify a suspect.

On May 18, the 23-year-old was caught trying to ride out of the village. After the arrest, police told him to take them to the scene where they found her bike and clothes.