by Bob Couttie

sheNews reports in Cambodia inform us that the local police in Kampot have issued a new description of a red-headed woman they wish to interview in connection with the death of 25 year-old Ophelia Begnis, a French tourist who was brutally raped and murdered, on February 9 of this year. The description, allegedly based on two eyewitness accounts, describes the woman as about 160 cm tall, 5’3″, significantly shorter than the earlier report.

heOlivier Van Den Bogaert, a 41 year old Belgian who formerly owned a guesthouse  on the Kampong Bay River which runs through the town of Kampot, has been charged with the murder. He is currently in pre-trial detention in the town prison.

An investigative judge in Kampot is currently interviewing defence witnesses and is expected to finish his investigation in about two weeks.

The results of a parallel inquiry by a French investigative Judge have been sent to the French Embassy in Phnom Penh. Copies have been given to Van Den Bogaert’s family who anticipate that he will be released from custody in about three weeks. They previously told All Things Crime Blog that they believed the French findings would exonerate him.

rivThe red-headed woman is said to have been seen on the night of the murder walking with Van Den Bogaert who is reported to have been pushing a bicycle with a broken chain. It is claimed that the bicycle was the same one Begnis had ridden from the guesthouse where she was staying on the afternoon of her disappearance. A witness claims to have seen someone similar to Van Den Bogaert throwing the bicycle into the river.

nice Initial police reports described the woman, who is said to have light skin and to be a foreigner, as roughly the same size and build as Van Den Bogarts, who is 196cm and 90 kilos. The new description reduces her height significantly. She is described as in her 40s.

Police have stated that the woman is a suspect in the murder. She may turn out to be more than just a ‘person of interest’.

Read more on this developing story:

Kampot Murder Investigation: The DNA Issue

Dispatch From Cambodia: Murder In A Sleepy Town

The Kampot Murder: The Chilling Price of Innocence

The Kampot Murder: The Mystery of the Red-Headed Woman

Cambodia Murder Investigation: Update From Kampot

More stories from Bob Couttie


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3 Responses to Kampot Murder: The Incredible Shrinking Red-Haired Woman

  1. dotty says:

    so, the red-haired women was initially a witness for the defence, and now is for the cambodian investigators a SUSPECT…?
    …and that, after they got the results from the french investigation ?

    this sounds, as if the french investigation confirms olly as the main suspect and if he was indeed with the women during the time of the murder, then she naturally becomes a suspect, too…

    • Patrick H. Moore says:

      Possibly. It’s still unclear exactly what is going on. Also, “suspect” in translation from Cambodian may simply mean what we would call a “person of interest.” Very interesting situation.

    • Bob Couttie says:

      No, the authorities have only just received the French investigation report and the police statement was made before they would have read it. To translate it into more familiar terms she is a person of interest. The original information, provided by the police appears to have been in error.

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