Sonam Pem Tshoki

Four months after the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Satsam Choeten, Paro, the mother is still waiting for justice.

She doesn’t have an update of the case but said she heard people talking that police are still investigating and questioning people. “I am hopeful police will be able to apprehend those responsible for my daughter’s death.”

Remembering her daughter as a helpful and responsible girl, she said her daughter cleaned the house, washed the dishes and fed her younger brother when she returned from the fields. “ I am a farmer and I come home late from the fields.

It was learnt that after the case surfaced in September last year, police arrested many people and questioned them. More than 980 DNA samples were collected. The DNA samples were sent to UK.

Police initially arrested the husband of the mother’s friend, who had criminal records with a history of incest, illicit trafficking of controlled substance and cattle lifting. He also had videos of child pornographies on his phone.

Police then detained a chef, who was amongst the group of people who went to search the girl on the night she went missing and saw her body on December 19, after finding his DNA fingerprints in one of the string that strangled the girl’s neck.

But it is not an isolated case.

The case of a 10-year-old girl, who went missing in broad daylight in Dechencholing, Thimphu, on December 9  but found two days later, dead and parts of the body eaten by animal remains unsolved.

The girl’s parents, Geeta Maya Adhikari, 33, and Yaga Nidhi Koirala, 33, said they are still waiting for justice and police to resolve the case.

According to the mother, when she reported that her daughter was missing, the community police and many people told her she must have gone to a friend’s place. “But I knew that was not the case because my daughter was a responsible and sensible girl and she would not go anywhere.”

Police initially ruled animal attack as a probable cause of the minor’s death and also ruled out sexual assault claiming there was no seminal discharge on her body or clothes. But many people didn’t buy the statement.

A Thimphu resident said it will not be possible for an animal to attack and cause death in Thimphu. “If the perpetrator uses precaution, there will not be seminal discharges.”

Then the forensic medicine and toxicology report concluded the probable cause of the girl’s death as strangulation ligature constriction of the neck. A forensic official, in an earlier interview with Kuensel, also said the genital area was partially mutilated especially on the right side including the hymenal area due to post mortem ‘animal attack’ so it could not be examined to confirm sexual assault.

The victim’s father also said there are many loopholes in the animal attack story. “I grew up in a village and I know that when a wild animal like a leopard attacks a prey, it would thrash and toss its prey around before eating the victim but Dena’s body was intact with injuries in only some places”.

He also said he and his wife gave the name of the possible suspect to Thimphu police but they did not hear anything from police. “But we are hopeful that police would be able to solve the case.”

The parents said they would not be able to come back to Thimphu after what happened but would now settle in Tsirang.

The Chief of police, Brigadier Chimi Dorji, cancelled the call when requested for an update on the case.