Friends and family of Canadian journalist Dave Walker, whose badly decomposed body was found on May 1 in Siem Reap province, have issued new statements accusing the Cambodian and Canadian governments of being complicit in what they say was his murder.
According to a statement posted online by journalist Nate Thayer, but which is attributed to Dave Walker’s next of kin, Tammy Madon, an on-site investigation by a seven-member pathology and forensic team points to murder.
“Walker was found facing face up on his back,” the statement says.
“The preliminary determination was that Walker’s neck was broken. His hands were both tightly clenched in a fist-like position, grabbing at the ground. The medical professional pathology and forensic team specifically estimated that Walker was involved in a struggle, during which he was alive for approximately five minutes.”
The statement says the Canadian government is in possession of that information, and that it has “been aware for more than two months that a named person of interest in Dave Walker’s disappearance and now confirmed murder—another Canadian citizen—was living in Cambodia and that his Canadian passport had expired.”
It claims that this person of interest—whom the Cambodian authorities allegedly wanted to question over the death—fled Cambodia on Tuesday, using a new passport issued by the Canadian authorities.
Dave Walker, 58, disappeared under mysterious circumstances from his Siem Reap guesthouse in February. His body was found on May 1 by two boys near Angkor Thom inside the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Cambodian police have repeatedly said that Dave Walker died of a heart attack. On Thursday, the provincial police chief, Sort Nady, claimed that Dave Walker likely fell unconscious in the forest, alone and far from his guesthouse, because of a lack of fresh air among the trees.
But Ms. Madon says no autopsy was ever carried out, and that Cambodian officials even prevented the forensic team from taking the body to Thailand for further tests.
“For 48 hours since the public official cover-up into Walker’s murder began, the Canadian government has remained silent and become complicit in the intentional cover-up of the murder of a Canadian citizen,” she says.
A second statement, also issued by Ms. Madon, disputes claims by Touch Malai, deputy chief of the provincial technical and science police bureau, that the forensics experts from Canada and Thailand conducted an autopsy on the body.
“These statements are indisputably false and the true facts that Canadian citizen journalist Dave Walker was murdered are precisely known to the Canadian government, the Cambodian government, the professional medical team of pathologists and forensic specialists and the family of Dave Walker,” it says.
“There has, to date, been no autopsy,” the statement adds.
Mr. Malai could not be reached, but Pheng Pech, another deputy at the same bureau, denied the claims that the Canadian was murdered and that there had been a cover-up.
“What proof do they have that it is a murder case?” he asked.
“If he said it’s a murder, please invite him to testify with the police, because we haven’t seen that it is a murder, based on our examination.”
Mr. Pech also denied the claims that Cambodian authorities prevented the international forensic team from conducting further test on the body in Thailand, saying that the authorities here have to complete paperwork on the case.
“Right now, the corpse is being kept at the provincial referral hospital to wait for a relative or the embassy to come and take it,” he said.
Officials at the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok could not be reached.
(Additional reporting by Khuon Narim)
crothers@cambodiadaily.com
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