A Burmese refugee whose 7-year-old daughter was raped, strangled, and beaten to death four years ago says still thinks about buying her presents.
"Anytime I’m out at the store, I’m always thinking about her to bring her something, big or small," Cartoon Wah, of South Salt Lake, Utah, said on Thursday at a preliminary hearing for his daughter's accused killer. The girl, Hser Ner Moo, was found dead in the shower of neighbor Esar Met in March 2008, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Moo's mother, Pearlly Wa, says she left her daughter with relatives while she went to visit the dentist. When she returned, Moo was missing.
Police found Moo's body in Met's basement apartment the next night. The 7-year-old's head, neck and torso had been beaten, and an autopsy showed other injuries consistent with strangulation. The coroner's office says that her hand was clutching hair belonging to Met.
Met, whose age is unknown but is listed in court documents as 25, is now facing charges of first-degree aggravated murder and child kidnapping, according to KSL.
Moo's parents testified that they did not know Met, though they did know his four roommates. The couple said one of their sons was friends with the roommates, and that he sometimes brought Moo with him when he went to the apartment.
Maung Then Htaik, who was not one of Met's roommates but lived in the same apartment complex as Moo's family and Met, testified that he became acquainted with Met in a refugee camp several years ago. He said that Met "loved kids" and would often play with Moo, along with Htaik's own little sister, according to Deseret News.
The case has been repeatedly delayed due to cultural and language barriers, according to KUTV. Moo's family and Met's roommates all speak Karen, while Met speaks Burmese, and finding qualified interpreters has been difficult.