Police in Ho Chi Minh City are considering a possible murder charge over the death of an eight-year-old girl at the abusive hands of her father’s lover.
A police representative in HCMC on Jan. 1 said officers in Binh Thanh District had handed the case over to city authorities due to its severity.
Previously, an eight-year-old girl living in an apartment complex in Binh Thanh District with her father, 36-year-old Nguyen Kim Trung Thai, and his lover, 26-year-old Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang, was taken to hospital but died before arrival. An investigation revealed she had been repeatedly beaten and made to do chores by Trang, to the complete knowledge of Thai.
While Binh Thanh District authorities considered pressing abuse charges against Thai and Trang, HCMC police are now considering charges of “deliberately causing injuries” or even “murder” due to the severity of the case.
Camera footage from Thai’s home, recovered by police, revealed that on Dec. 22, the day the girl died, Trang had beaten her for hours using wooden sticks, her arms and legs. She also bound the little girl to a chair to ‘teach her lesson’.
Following the girl’s death, Thai deleted all data from the cameras.
Trang and Thai had lived together for over a year, from the time Thai divorced his ex-wife. Since that day, Trang had frequently beaten the little girl and forced her to do chores, investigation found. When rods broke due to repeated beatings, she switched to wooden implements.
Thai also repeatedly refused to allow the biological mother to visit the little girl, it has been reported.
On Dec. 22, Trang beat the girl so badly she fainted. The girl was taken to hospital, but declared dead on arrival. Her wounds and bruises prompted doctors to contact police.
Autopsy results determined the girl had suffered a hematoma under the skin of her forehead, mild cerebral edema, and broken ribs.
Thai admitted to police he knew his lover often used rods and sticks to beat his daughter for “education” purposes. He also admitted to having participated in the beatings.
Both Trang and Thai have been arrested by Binh Thanh District police.
The Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights had sent a petition to local authorities, saying Trang’s behavior suggested culpable homicide, a much more serious crime than “abuse”. It argued Trang knew hitting the girl in vital areas like the head or ribs could lead to fatal injuries, but did so anyway, meaning she had the intention of taking the girl’s life.
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