Cambodian police suspect suicide in death of French family

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2012 6:03 AM

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian police probing the deaths of a Frenchman and his four children whose bodies were found in a car submerged in a pond have ruled out murder and suspect suicide.

The bodies of Laurent Vallier, 42, and his children aged two to nine were found earlier this month in a pond behind their home in Kompong Speu, close to the capital Phnom Penh, having been missing since September.

Kirth Chantharith, a spokesman for the Cambodian police, said on Tuesday an investigation indicated that the cause of death was probably suicide and Vallier had most likely driven into the pond with the doors locked.

"We've not found any sign of murder and we suspect suicide," Kirth Chantharith said, adding Vallier's property was untouched and that an urn carrying the ashes of his deceased Cambodian wife, who died during childbirth, was also found in the car.

The French embassy said French police had drafted a joint preliminary report with Cambodian experts. It said it would not comment on the contents of the report because the investigation was ongoing.

Kirth Chantharith, however, said the French investigators had told police they also suspected suicide as the cause of death.

The embassy had said on January 15 it was difficult to identify the bodies.

(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Martin Petty and Sanjeev Miglani)