The autopsy report this week from Chulalongkorn Hospital was a bombshell in more ways than one. The young woman had died in the afternoon or early evening of the day before her body was found due to excessive alcohol intake.
Only hours after it looked like he was off the hook on possible murder or rape charges comes the news that the prime suspect connected with the death of ‘pretty’ Thitima Noraphanpiphat was arrested this morning at 1 am at a petrol station near Thonburi.
Held for questioning, he was later charged by police on three counts, including detaining the young woman, molestation and indecency.
Thai police from Metropolitan Division 8 arrested the prime suspect linked with the death of Thai ‘pretty’ or commercial presenter Thitima Noraphanpiphat in what has been a roller-coaster week for investigating officers involved in the case.
Young male model arrested at 1 am on Wednesday at petrol filling station by Thai police
The arrest took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning as 24-year-old Mr Rachadech Wongtabutr or ‘Nam Oun’ was refuelling at a petrol station in the Thonburi area of Bangkok. He was travelling in a car accompanied by his parents at the time. It is reported that the young man who was seen in video footage from the early hours of Wednesday morning the 17th September and the evening before, carrying the lifeless body of the young woman into his condominium building and then downstairs again some hours later to the lobby of the Thonburi condominium complex where she was later found dead on a sofa.
Refused to open the door to police at his condo
Security at his Thonburi condominium complex found the deceased body of the young woman on Wednesday 17th last and identified Mr Rachadech as the last person seen with her. He told the staff at the building earlier that she was his girlfriend. The young man later aroused the suspicion of police when he refused to open the door of his condominium to officers who were executing a warrant for his detention and to search his home.
Released last Thursday after intense questioning and quizzed again by police on Monday
Mr Rachadech was released after questioning last Thursday but it is understood that police interrogated him further on Monday. He has maintained his position that the young woman was alive and breathing while in his condominium in Thonburi up to the early hours of the 17th September when he brought her in what looked like a comatose state, back down to the lobby of the building. It is understood that following his arrest this Wednesday, police have pressed three criminal charges against him after interrogating further well into the morning.
Charges relate to detaining the women causing her death, molestation and indecency
The young male model has been charged with detaining the young woman in a manner that may have caused her death, molestation and committing an indecency. Further charges could be forthcoming as the investigation continues.
Young ‘pretty’ woman died from alcohol poisoning
The release of the autopsy report earlier this week from Siriraj Hospital revealed that the young woman died from alcohol poisoning after it was found that there was an alcohol concentration of 418 milligrammes per 100 millilitres in her blood. This is enough to cause death or unconsciousness. The autopsy report also indicated that there were no further fluids in the young woman’s body which appeared to rule out the possibility that she had been raped.
Suspect left the party in Nonthaburi with the Ms Thitma at 5 pm and arrived at Thonburi at 6 pm
However, what sent the police investigators into a quandary was the time of death concluded by the medical experts. They estimated that the young woman died between 3 pm and 7 pm on the 16th of September. Police have established that the suspect Mr Rachadech left the party at Bang Bua Thing in Nonthaburi at 5 pm with the immobile young woman and brought her back to his condominium in Thonburi arriving at 6 pm.
Video showed prime suspect touching the woman’s face at the party in Nong Bua Thong
There also been video evidence from the party in Bang Bua Thong where the young woman was hired to serve drinks which appeared to show a man touching Ms Thitma on the face. It is now understood that this person was ‘Nam Oun’ or Rachadech Wongtabutr by his own admission to police investigators.
Police were reported this week to be trying to establish the exact time of the young woman’s death as this not only has a bearing on the evidence but on which police station has jurisdiction over the case.
Smartwatch recording woman’s vital signs being examined by police, not clear on the evidentiary value
A smartwatch was being examined by police which may indicate the time to death of the young woman as it was used to record her vital signals. Police investigators at the beginning of the week were also reaching out to legal and medical experts to establish its value as evidence beyond indicating to the probe when the young woman died. The watch was handed over to the Technology Crime Suppression Division for examination.
Attorney General’s Office official: police must examine if the model’s drinkwas tampered with
Police officers were also liaising with the Attorney General’s Office relating to the case. The Deputy Director of the Decisions Department, Poramet Intharachumnum, said this week that a key issue remained who plied the young woman with alcohol and if it may have been tampered with in order to intoxicate the young woman. This could impact on whether charges perhaps of manslaughter or recklessness which may be brought against certain suspects.
Owner of the party venue under scrutiny
The owner of the house where the party was held has come in for intense police scrutiny. 40-year-old Chaiyaphon Panna was questioned by police. At first, it was suspected that he may have been the man touching the young woman in the video but Mr Chaiyaphon insisted that the man touching the young woman was the prime suspect Rachadech Wongtabutr. The property owner has also faced questions about his source of income.
During the week, it was reported that local authority officials had visited his home and sealed off an extension to it as it did not have the required planning permission. It will be demolished if Mr Chaiyaphon can not prove that it is a legal structure.