by Bob Couttie

Lieutenant General Mok Chito of Cambodia’s National Judicial Police department has confirmed that DNA evidence in the Kampot murder case is “inconclusive”, as revealed in the comments section of an All Things Crime Blog post  in June. The report appears in Cambodia Daily, a local English-language newspaper.

victimBelgian national Olivier Van Den Bogaert is currently in detention in Kampot prison on charges of rape, murder and torture of 25-year-old Ophelia Begnis, whose battered naked body was found floating in the Kampot Bay river on 10 February this year.  She had been reported missing by travelling companions that morning and was last seen the previous afternoon cycling away from the guesthouse where she had been staying.

Defence Lawyer Khun Sophal, who has not yet seen the report, is attempting to get Van Den Bogaert released on bail.

The French report, which was made available to Cambodian authorities through the French Embassy, also says there is no evidence of rape.

French police and forensics experts, together with an investigating judge, Claudine Enfoux, went to Kampot to collect evidence in March. They were in country to investigate the murder of a French tour guide and his four children elsewhere in Cambodia.

riverVan Den Bogaerts was arrested in April based on witnesses who allegedly saw him dump a bicycle in a river beside a durian plantation on the night of 9-10 February. Although a bicycle was recovered from the river it has not been positively identified beyond a ’75-per cent’ certainty that it was the one ridden by Begnis on the night she disappeared.

 

 

riversetCambodia Daily quotes Lieutenant General Chito: “[The DNA evidence] might have disappeared with the water,” and that the DNA report was ‘flawed and unclear’ and therefore “not usable.”

The case will now rely on witness testimony and alleged evidence that may not have been made public. Investigating judge Hong Sokun Vathana, who has yet to see a Khmer translation of the French report, is currently interviewing witnesses for the prosecution and the defence.

For the two families involved resolution will take somewhat longer.

 

Earlier reports on this story

More stories from Bob Couttie

 

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4 Responses to Kampot Murder: DNA “Inconclusive” Says Cambodian Cop

  1. What does this mean for the family, and the case in general? Does the fact that she wasn’t raped help Olivier’s case, or hurt it? Or no effect? I know the family was hoping the DNA would exonerate him based on DNA …..looks like the Cambodian gov’t is pushing on with the case, though . . . expert opinion, anyone?

    • Patrick H. Moore says:

      Bob might be able to answer this better than me but I would think that just like here in the States, the prosecution has every right to push forward based on witness statements. Keep in mind that as I understand this, it hasn’t yet been decided if the state (Cambodian judicial system) is actually going forward with the trial. They want to scrutinize the evidence first to determine if the case is strong enough to go forward. So, Van Den Bogaert may still ultimately be exonerated without having to go to trial; it’s just to early to tell at this point.

  2. Bob Couttie says:

    Yes, Patrick, you’re correct. No trial yet, everything is at the investigation stage. That will depend upon te investigative judge.

  3. Johnny Swann says:

    His freedom depends ONLY on cash flow .
    Prosecutors and judges in Cambodia are heavily corrupt and I am sure they are expecting a lot of money from this guy.
    The faster he pays the quicker he’ll be released.

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