Fort Smith police have arrested a suspect in the murder investigation of a woman who was found strangled in her home in January.
Kevyphonh Sounyaphong, 59, was arrested Monday on suspicion of first degree murder. He was transported to the Sebastian County Detention Center, where he remains on $500,000 bond, according to the Fort Smith Police Department.
Sounyaphong told 5NEWS while he was being led to the detention center in handcuffs that he did not kill the victim. When asked if he knew who strangled the victim, he said, “I have no idea.”
Sounyaphong is accused of killing Sakounsouk Vilayhong, a woman who was found dead in her Fort Smith home Jan. 24. Emergency crews said they found Vilayhong lying on the living room floor and pronounced her dead at the scene.
The victim was found by her husband after her returned from work, police said.
An investigation showed Vilayhong spent the majority of the day at the Choctaw Casino in Poteau, Okla. She arrived at the casino at 8:30 .m. and left at 1:50 p.m., according to the police investigation.
Detectives were able to establish probable cause and collected DNA evidence over the course of the several-months-long investigation, leading to Sounyaphong’s arrest, police said.
An autopsy of Vilayhong showed she had been strangled, according to Fort Smith police. Her time of death was placed at between 2:15 and 2:45 p.m.
The suspect initially denied going to the casino, but later told police he was there all of Jan. 24 and into the morning of Jan. 25. An investigation later showed that Sounyaphong left the casino on the afternoon of Jan. 24, around the same time the victim did, police said.
Detectives were able to match the DNA of hairs found at the crime scene to Sounyaphong’s DNA profile, after which an arrest warrant was issued, police said.