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Pond tragedy: Bodies yet to be formally identified

Pond tragedy: Bodies yet to be formally identified

Cambodian authorities are yet to confirm whether five bodies pulled from a submerged vehicle in a pond behind Laurent Vallier’s house in Kampong Speu on Saturday are those of the French national and his four children.

Three days after the grisly discovery, there seems to be confusion about who is supposed to examine the bodies.

Cambodian authorities yesterday appeared to be relying on the French Embassy to perform their own analysis of the bodies, while the embassy said it was up to the Cambodians to investigate.  

“It is up to the Cambodian authorities to carry out the investigation that they will find necessary in order to formally identify the bodies and to find the cause of the death. Of course, the French government will be keen to provide any technical support or expertise,” said First Councillor of the French Embassy Dominique Mas.

The embassy had been in contact with relatives of the Vallier family, he said, but “the bodies remain at the disposal of the justice in Cambodia”.

Director of the Kampong Speu provincial health department Or Van Then said the remains of the five bodies were being kept at his department, which was “waiting for the French Embassy to take the bodies to do an exam”.

Chhay Sinarith, director of the Internal Security Department at the Ministry of Interior, said officials were waiting to receive the results from a preliminary investigation carried out by the technical police.

“If we get the results, we can analyse and decide how to conduct the investigation. We are waiting to cooperate with the French Embassy in case they need our help.”

Mr Vallier, 42, had lived in Cambodia for 12 years and was reported missing, along with his family, in September.

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