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Murder Charge Announced for Woman Who Beat 8-Year-Old to Death

The Ho Chi Minh City Police Department announced yesterday that they are now investigating Nguyễn Võ Quỳnh Trang for murder in response to evidence that she beat her fiance's eight-year-old daughter to death as part of routine and repeated physical abuse.

The high-profile case has dominated local news and social media during the last two weeks as more details emerged surrounding the young Saigon girl's death on December 22 at the hands of 26-year-old Trang have emerged.

The outcry from the girl's family, the public, and child protection experts were swift when Trang was initially to be investigated for "abuse." On December 28, Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh promptly requested municipal authorities to pursue harsh punishment in the case.

On December 22, Trang reportedly beat the girl for four hours with wooden sticks and other objects for not doing her school work well and kicked and slapped her, bound her legs and feet and forced her to sit up to study. She was brought to the hospital but arrived already deceased. Her wounds and bruises prompted the hospital to contact authorities, and a later autopsy revealed broken ribs, mild swelling in her brain, and other injuries sustained from previous abuse.

Police found broken objects at the couple's home that indicated Trang frequently beat the girl. During questioning, Trang confessed to using a rattan whip and wooden cane when the girl did not complete chores or schoolwork properly. Neighbors also repeatedly heard the girl crying at home.

Trang has been living with the girl and her father, 36-year-old Nguyễn Kim Trung Thái, in a Binh Thanh apartment complex since October 2020 following his divorce from the girl's mother, Nguyễn Thị Hạnh, earlier that spring. Nguyễn Quang Vinh, Hạnh's brother, told authorities that Thái had not allowed Hạnh to visit her daughter. 

Thái is now being investigated for "abuse" and "concealment of crimes." He admitted to having beaten his daughter on several occasions as well as being aware of Trang's ongoing abuse that he said was seen a means of "educating her." The violence had increased since schools were closed due to the pandemic, forcing his daughter to study at home with Trang.

On the night of the fatal beating, Thái had security camera footage sent directly to his phone, but attempted to delete it after his daughter died. Police were able to restore enough of the video to confirm the nature of the violence. 

If convicted, Trang faces anywhere from 12 years to life in prison, or even the death penalty. She is currently incarcerated while the investigation continues.

[Photo: Residents of the apartment complex hold a vigil for the victim/VietnamNet]

Nguyễn Quang Vinh

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