The body of Canadian journalist Dave Walker was discovered in Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex on May 1, 2014, more than two and a half months after he was first reported missing, according to news accounts.
Walker’s body was found by two Cambodian youths in a forested area of the vast archaeological park popular with tourists, according to news reports. A veteran freelance journalist and co-founder of the Animist Farm Films film production company, Walker was last seen leaving his room at the Green Village Angkor Guesthouse in the western town of Siem Riep on February 14, 2014. He left his room to allow the guesthouse’s housekeeping staff to clean it, and left behind his mobile phone, laptop computer, passport, and other personal belongings, news reports said.
The guesthouse’s owner and Walker’s associate, Sonny Chhoun, confirmed that the clothes on the decomposed body were the ones that Walker was wearing at the time of his disappearance, according to news reports.
Provincial police chief Sort Nady said police authorities had not yet determined whether Walker’s death was the result of murder or natural causes, according to reports. “Our first thought is that the victim lost his way in the forest and became ill,” Sort Nady told the Cambodian Daily newspaper.
A press release issued by Walker’s family said a “senior medical doctor” from Siem Riep concluded he could not determine the cause or time of Walker’s death. The press release called on the Canadian government to “formally investigate, in order to move forward and bring those who were responsible for Dave’s senseless death to justice.”
Reports said a specialist was being brought in and an autopsy performed to determine the circumstances surrounding Walker’s death.
At the time of Walker’s disappearance, Animist Farm Films was working on a film about a man who saved scores of families from the former murderous Khmer Rouge regime. According to people familiar with the situation who spoke to CPJ, Walker had interviewed several former Khmer Rouge cadres while making the film. Surviving Khmer Rouge leaders currently stand trial for alleged crimes against humanity, including genocide, at a United Nations supported tribunal.