Late evening view of the Kampong bay Estuary, known locally as the Kampot river. Photograph: Will Baxter/Phnom Penh Post
A French woman in her mid-twenties who was vacationing with two friends at a tranquil riverside resort in Kampot province was found dead yesterday – naked and bludgeoned on the head – local police said.
In Chiva, deputy police commissioner in Kampot, told the Post that the woman’s body was discovered at about noon floating in the Kampong Bay estuary that runs through the town.
She was found some five kilometres from the Les Manguiers resort, which she and her friends had planned on checking out of yesterday following a week’s holiday.
Found without her clothes, the woman had marks on one wrist and had been bludgeoned on the forehead, according to Chiva, who believes she was murdered. Authorities are investigating, but there are no suspects yet.
“We do not know clearly yet what happened to her,” Chiva said, adding that she was taken from Kampot to Calmette hospital in Phnom Penh after an initial examination from the police and doctors. Her friends, also from France, accompanied the body.
A local police officer who asked not to be named but was at the site where the body was discovered, told the Post her skull was badly damaged.
The woman and her friends checked in at Les Manguiers on February 4, said Touch Samphea, a manager of the French-style guesthouse. She was last seen at about 4:30pm on Saturday as she rode away on a hotel bicycle.
Samphea said the woman’s friends and staff at the guesthouse reported her missing to police at about 9am yesterday, and staff members helped search for her in town and by boat.
“She normally went out with her friends in the daytime, and in the evening and at night-time they normally stayed at the guesthouse,” she said. “We feel regret for her death; she was nice and friendly.”
Samphea said the woman and her friends had planned to return to France on Thursday after staying in the country for more than a month.
She said that police came to the guesthouse to investigate but, as of yesterday evening, there were no clues.
A spokesman for the French Embassy said officials there are following the case closely.