Police in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nop district are attempting to identify a suspect behind the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in the district last week.
Captain Sok Sothea, a penal police officer working with Prey Nop district police, identified the victim as Oeun Sreynoch, who was a 13-year-old student from Prey Nop commune’s Prey Nop I village.
Cap Sothea said that at about 3pm on August 17, the victim along with five of her friends travelled on motorbikes to visit a waterfall located about 15 kilometres from the village.
He added that at about 5.30pm, the victim disappeared. When she did not return home that evening, her parents alerted police.
Cap Sothea said officers subsequently helped to search for Ms Sreynoch but did not find her.
At about 11am on Thursday, a villager found Ms Sreynoch’s body on the side of a road and alerted police.
“According to police investigation, this was a murder,” Cap Sothea said. “The suspect strangled her to death after raping her.”
“After killing her, the suspect threw her body on the side of a road and fled,” he added.
Cap Sothea said police have returned the victim’s body to her parents for a funeral.
Colonel Hour Yai, district police chief, confirmed that police do not yet have a suspect.
“According to our investigation, the suspect may be a man who knew the victim well and lived in the same village as the victim,” he said.
Earlier this year, a separate case that also took place in Preah Sihanouk province gripped the nation and raised concerns over violence against children in the Kingdom.
On May 29, the bodies of 10-year-old Pha Srey Leak and her two-year-old brother Pha Sok Ly were found in bloody pools at their home in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune.
National Police eventually arrested Meang Vichet, 26, on June 2 for the alleged raping and killing of the victims. Police also noted that Mr Vichet had a history of violence.
On June 4, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court charged Mr Vichet with rape and manslaughter. He is currently in pre-trial detention and faces up to life in prison if convicted.
According to police, Mr Vichet confessed that on the morning of May 29, he bought drugs and alcohol near O’Chhoeuteal beach in Sihanoukville before spotting the girl playing with her brother outside their home.
He then led the girl into her home and raped her, leading to the murder of both children when the boy entered the home and caught the suspect in the act of raping his sister.