Namgay Dolkar, 24: The father shared his daughter’s picture here to show she is not just a crime statistic and if eyewitnesses want to come forward.

‘My daughter did not commit suicide. She was murdered’: Father speaks out

Namgay Dolkar, 24, was bright, confident and excited about her life, according to a close female friend who worked along with her in an Education Consultancy that helped students to head to Australia.

Her friend said, “She was excited about our travel plan to Nepal in September, and she was also exploring options to study outside in USA, Canada, Europe and Australia. In fact, five days before her death, she contacted a mutual friend of ours in Australia and said she was exploring to come there.”

However, a few days later, Namgay’s body was found in a prone position stuck over a log in the Thimphu/Wang Chu (river) in the Khariphu area 20 km south of Thimphu.

A private 38-year-old businessman called Sonam (second name not disclosed) who was in a relationship with her for the last six months is the prime suspect and accused in her alleged murder. He has allegedly said they had an altercation and then Namgay killed herself in front of him by jumping into the river from a bridge. But Namgay’s family and the police evidence so far refute his claim.

A good student and a guide for the family

Namgay Dolkar was a good student, according to her family, and she graduated in July 2021 from the Royal Thimphu College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Sociology.

Her first job was in a private firm where she met Sonam who was the boss there. While others were being paid Nu 6,000 as starting pay, it seems Sonam took a fancy to her and paid her Nu 8,000.

She worked there for six months and left, and after that she joined an Education Consultancy in January 2023 where her good grip on the English language got her the post of Statement of Purpose (SOP) Coordinator. She did well in her first six months and got a promotion and a salary of Nu 21,000. She then got another hike along with the rest of the staff, which would have made her pay Nu 26,000 per month from September onwards.

Her father Singye Wangchuk, 52, a retired civil servant, said Namgay Dolkar was the apple of his eye and they got along very well.

Singye Wangchuk said, “There is no way my daughter would have committed suicide. She was bold, and she had future plans to study Masters abroad and her first option was USA and if that did not work out then Australia.”

“She was bright and she would even guide the family. She had made plans so that I could sell my small plots of land in Khasadrapchu, Paro and Gelephu and buy a plot in the RTC area. She was helping her aunty with a house construction, and processed all the permits and paperwork. When we fell sick, she would take us to the hospital. She used to take care of the family,” her father added, his voice heavy with emotion and despair.

The father said she was not hard up for money, as her gave her pocket money and he even had his civil service benefits which he was processing after working for 29 years in the civil service.

He said his daughter did not have depression and did not suffer from any mental health issues.

Daughter goes missing

The last that Singye saw of his daughter was around the evening at 5:30 pm on Sunday the 13 August, when she left her house above the NPPF colony to go outside.

Singye was worried when his daughter did not come back home at night.

“I stayed up the whole night calling her phone, but each time it said her phone is not reachable,” said the father.

The next day on Monday the 14 August, he went to the police station to file a missing person’s report. He also called her office hoping that she had somehow gone to her work place, but she had not reached there.

The father then went to the Bhutan Telecom and requested the company to track his daughter’s phone. A search showed that the last known location of his daughter’s phone was in Semtokha.

The father rushed to Semtokha in the approximate area which was a rough road going above the Thimphu to Punakha highway and known informally as a ‘Lover’s Point’ for dating couples who drive there.

He found nothing there.

In the meantime, the RBP also headed to Bhutan Telecom to look at Namgay’s phone records and found the last few calls were made to a certain number.

The main suspect

The number happened to belong to Sonam whom the police called to the police station.

When Sonam was questioned by the police, he had initially said that Namgay Dolkar had wanted to meet him on Sunday, and so he booked a hotel room at Hotel Football, but she did not turn up and so he cancelled the booking.

He confessed to the police that he was already married with children, and that he had told her there would be problems at home but she did not listen. He claimed that she ‘tortured him.’

When the police asked to see the messages between them, Sonam said he had deleted it all as she used slang words.

When a police official asked him if he called her when she did not come to meet him, he said he did not all her.

The police then confiscated his phone to look at it.

He told the police that on the evening of Sunday evening he went to Pamtsho to see his wife’s sick mother, and then he went back home to Changzamtog.

Changing stories

Two things made Sonam change his story and written statements.

The first was RBP looking at CCTV footages which showed Sonam’s car heading towards the NPPF colony, a fact he had hidden, and then later his car exiting the Thimphu Welcome Gate and around 9 pm heading back to Thimphu.

The police confronted Sonam with the CCTV evidence, and he then changed his story saying he went near Yusipang area, which is their dating site, to look for her but did not find her there. He said he then went near the Rochogpel Hotel looking for her and came back after that.

The second turn of events was the discovery of Namgay Dolkar’s body in the river in the Khariphu area itself. The swollen river had not been able to carry her body away as her body got stuck on a log.

Sonam again changed his story saying he met Namgay Dolkar at a road intersection to Postcard Dewa Hotel just around 500 meters before Khasadrapchu, and from there they went on a drive to Khariphu, where they drove below the road towards the bridge and parked at a parking area just before the Khariphu bridge.

Sonam claimed to the police that there Namgay tried to strangle herself with the car seat belt, and he tried to stop her and in the process also squeezed her neck in anger. He said she then came out of the car and jumped into the river.

Sonam neither attempted to rescue her nor did he call anybody for help. Instead he drove back to Thimphu. He said he kept quiet as he thought he would get in trouble.

Namgay’s phone has not been found so far.

The post mortem

However, the post mortem report of Namgay Dolkar tells a very different story of what happened to her.

When the Fire Department and the police recovered her body from the river, unlike suicide cases where people die of drowning, it was noted that her stomach was flat and not round due to water going in.

The major key evidence is that the many bruises in and around her neck area were formed before her death.

Namgay had reddish black bruises at the lower left jaw. She had horizontal abrasion wounds at the front of the neck extending to both sides of the neck. She had multiple roundish bluish and blackish bruises on both sides of the neck and upper chest and shoulder.

There were multiple linear abrasions on her left neck. There were multiple bluish black bruises on the left hand and a linear bluish wound on the left hand and inner thigh.

The forensic report says almost all wounds were sustained by the deceased appeared to have been before her death as the wounds clearly showed vital reactions like bleeding, swelling bruises of the edges, etc., in them.

It says the bruises, abrasions and wounds on the neck showed different patterns suggesting several forms of inflicting mechanisms were present like manual strangulation, ligature marks (strangulation using some cord or rope), scratches, etc.

The report says the laceration of the inner lip and lower lips with bruises surrounding it suggests the deceased was also smothered around the mouth with reasonable force.

It said although the body was retrieved from the river the features suggestive of drowning were not present, however, the possibility of drowning could not be excluded (rare cases of dry drowning with little amounts of water).

It said the sign of asphyxia congestion and petechial hemorrhage suggested rapid death.

The forensic report said she appears to have died from asphyxia due to the fatal pressure on her neck.

The forensic report clearly shows that Namgay Dolkar had a violent death that involved strangulation of her neck and also smothering of her mouth.

The bruises and injuries were formed when she was alive and struggling, and she was dead in all probability when her body hit the water.

Outraged father seeks justice

Singye Wangchuk said what outrages him the most is the suggestion by Sonam that his daughter killed herself despite all the evidence.

He said he is also worried that given Sonam’s wealth and influence, the justice for his daughter’s murder should not be undermined.

Singye said the rate at which Sonam is changing his stories may lead him to change it again to appeal for lesser sentencing, which he said should not happen.  He said he hopes that the system will give his daughter justice.

Singye Wangchuk shared the photo of his daughter with the paper for two reasons. The first is that he wants people to know she is a real person and not a crime statistic, and secondly for any more eyewitnesses to come forward.

Meanwhile, a family member of Sonam said that they have not yet had access to him, and have been hearing everything through the police. He said they are looking at hiring a lawyer.

Like in any crime while the main victim is Namgay Dolkar and her family, the impact is also being felt on Sonam’s family. Sonam’s wife who was not aware of all this, is in a state of shock, while his children are now undergoing counselling.

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9 comments

  1. Tenzin Chojay

    Sonam should get in life prison

  2. HOW FILTHY CAN A MAN REALLY BE ? REALLY DISGUSTING WHEN APPARENTLY EVERYTHING AROUND HIM IS CRYSTAL CLEAR. HOPE THE POOR SOUL GETS THE JUSTICE!!!!

  3. Same thing happened three and half years before in Dangryena, Dechenchoeling where an innocent minor girl named Dina Koirala was raped and murdered. Justice was not given to the girl,which shows policemen’s complacency. What I observed there , they didn’t want to take trouble to find out the culprit. Different story came out. I would advise policemen not only to keep Bhutan traffic well functioned but do take some trouble to find out the culprit and punish.

  4. Omg poor girl, may she rest in peace :(!

  5. I hope wealth won’t come in the way of justice and the wrong doer will be punished accordingly.

  6. His fingerprint shall decide the truth. If he wouldn’t touch her neck and caused the bruises.

  7. May this family finds the justice for theirl daughter. Rest in peace beautiful girl

  8. Sonam wangchuk

    Really sad. Hope she rest in peace and he is clearly lying, how can his story change 3 times. Its sure that he killed her, I think he pushed her in the river.

  9. The cause of Namgay’s death and some part of the story should come from within Sonam’s circle of friends who he regularly socialized with (professionally and personally). His close friends and Namgay’s closed friends probably might know some insides of their affairs as I am sure both might have shared the story to their close friends. Interrogation will be very essential not only find the truth behind this case but also for those who are having extra marital affairs should know the implications and the matter.

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