Bones found at home of Party official's wife suspected of murder

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People watching police search for the body of Duong Thi Thuy Binh Ha, an official from the Kim Long Commune People's Committee. Police found bones in the garden of murder suspect Le Thi Huong, the wife of a commune Party unit chief on March 14.

Police in the southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province are examining bones collected last week at the house of a commune Party unit chief, which are suspected to belong to a local woman allegedly murdered by the official's wife.

The search was carried out as part of efforts by local authorities and relatives of Duong Thi Thuy Binh Ha, 51, to find the woman's body, after rumors surfaced that Ha had been murdered and had her body dumped in a well near the house of Le Thi Huong, 38, the wife of Vo Thanh My, chief of the Kim Long Commune Party Unit.

Ha had served as chairperson of the local branch of the Red Cross and had been a cashier with the Kim Long Commune People's Committee.

Police pumped water from the well but failed to find Ha's body on January 21. Two days later her relatives also unearthed no evidence when they dug up a dirt mound beside the well.


Le Thi Huong at the police station

But on March 14, police discovered that several bone fragments, ashes believed to be from bones and two teeth, had been buried in different places in the garden belonging to Huong and My in Chau Duc District's Xa Bang Commune.

Provincial police have summoned Nguyen Hai Son, Ha's son, and Duong Thi Thuy, Ha's sister, to collect hair samples for DNA testing in order to compare them to those taken from the collected bones.

Huong told police that she called Ha to come to her house in mid-May of last year to help her fix an electrical circuit and that Ha had been accidentally electrocuted to death, a source told Thanh Nien.

Huong admitted to burning the dead woman's body and to scattering the ashes throughout her garden and at the base of a rubber tree belonging to a nearby garden.

She also confessed to selling Ha's gold bracelet for VND14 million (US$671).

Son said that his mother, who had loaned Huong over VND200 million, has not been heard from since May 14.


Vo Thanh My (2nd from right) with four local police officers

Ha reportedly went to work that morning (May 14). That afternoon the district's inspectorate invited her to clarify her complaints of two months earlier concerning issues related to the communal People's Committee, but she never turned up.

Two days later, Son received an SMS, in which the sender claimed to be his mother, saying that she had some work to do and would return home after finishing it.

After Son attempted to reach his mother via the number for a month without success, police found that Huong had sold Ha's cell phone to a shop in adjacent Dong Nai Province for VND900,000. Huong would later claim that she had found the phone in front of her house.

In January, Huong was also accused of using a kitchen knife to attack Phan Ngoc Nga, 52, and her husband Nguyen Chi Hung, 53, on January 15 after inviting the couple to her house, pledging to return VND80 million that she had borrowed from them early last year. Hung suffered several knife wounds to his head, back and arms, while Nga also sustained head wounds in the incident


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Tran Van Thu, vice chief of the Chau Duc District Party Unit said Huong's husband, My, the Kim Long Party unit chief has been suspended from his post.

Thu was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying that My "does not have enough credibility" to continue working for the Party.

According to the newspaper, the district's Party unit has required My to submit a report detailing any involvement he may have had in the case.

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