A man who had recently sought mental health treatment murdered his wife, before taking his own life, in Mondulkiri province’s Sen Monorom commune on Saturday, leaving three children orphaned.
An O’Raing district police officer who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the press said suspect and ethnic Phnong man Ngruem Vin, 43, attacked his wife, Kluey Soke, 40, with a machete as she was picking vegetables behind their home in Puheam village. He then slit his own throat.
According to the officer, Vin’s mental health had deteriorated after he was hit on the head by a falling tree while logging timber some six months ago.
“When he returned home, he lost his memory and become foolish like a child,” the officer said, citing information from neighbours.
“The couple had no arguments or problems with each other,” he added, noting that according to a neighbour, Soke had brought Vin to the provincial hospital several times. Lacking money for treatment, however, she resorted to conducting traditional animist prayers.
Mondulkiri Provincial Hospital Director Tuy Sros said one counsellor provides mental health services at the facility but that any patients requiring further expertise are sent to Phnom Penh. Sros was unable to confirm if Vin had been treated at the hospital.
Sok Rotha, an observer from the rights group Adhoc said every provincial hospital should have a specialist in brain damage “because people in the remote areas cannot afford the treatment in the city”.