Kompong Speu Provincial Court has received further evidence from the Paris Court of Appeal that a Frenchman and his four children found dead inside a submerged car in January 2012 were murdered.
Laurent Vallier, 42, and his four children, aged two to nine, were found inside the family’s SUV at the bottom of a pond near their home. Cambodian police initially insisted that a broke and desperate Mr. Vallier had committed a murder-suicide, but French investigators in March 2013 ruled out that theory.
Kompong Speu Provincial Court Investigating Judge Chhim Ritthy, who has been on the case from day one, said Monday that the French forensic investigation had found that a pair of flip-flops recovered from the car did not belong to Mr. Vallier, lending further support to the murder theory.
“The examination of the flip-flops found in Vallier’s car shows that they do not belong to Vallier,” Judge Ritthy said.
“So [the Paris Appeal Court] concludes that they belonged to someone who pushed the car [into the pond] and then jumped out and left them behind,” he added.
“This makes it even more clear that this is a murder case,” Judge Ritthy said.
Nicolas Baudouin, first secretary at the French Embassy, confirmed Monday that this information had come out of Paris, but declined to comment further.
The mother of Mr. Vallier’s children, who died giving birth to the fourth child in 2009, was a Cambodian. Initial investigations probed Mr. Vallier’s in-laws, who had acquired nine titles from authorities for land in Prey Veng province that previously belonged to Mr. Vallier.
Mr. Vallier’s family and friends have said that the deceased man had a rocky relationship with his in-laws. His brother, Xavier Vallier, has said that even after his wife’s death, Mr. Vallier’s in-laws treated him like an “open wallet.”
Contacted Monday, Srey Oun, the sister of Mr. Vallier’s wife, who lived with the family, reaffirmed her innocence and that of her family.
“I regard my brother-in-law like a father and I regard my nieces and nephews like my own children,” Ms. Oun said.
(Additional reporting by Matt Blomberg)
sovuthy@cambodiadaily.com
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