The long letter left for police written with attractive penmanship but showing signs of anxiety and the appalling actions of the man suggest that financial debt and depression had driven him to insanity. It is a similar story to a Thai businessman in Bangkok in September who murdered his wife and children when the family business could no longer afford to pay moneylenders.

An Udon Thani man, deranged by crippling debt, murdered his wife and two beautiful daughters minutes into Sunday morning in what appears to be an orchestrated murder-suicide. One of his daughters was a college graduate for whom he had incurred a crippling debt to educate while the other was in her first year at Khon Kaen University.

Horrified and shocked police study the suicide note at the two-storey home in the Phen district of Udon Thani on Sunday. (Inset) The man’s wife and two daughters celebrate the graduation of his eldest daughter Kachaporn in recent times from Khon Kaen University where his youngest daughter Sasithorn was in the first year. (Inset bottom) A rescue worker displays the rope that the deranged man used to hang himself with after murdering his family.

Police responded to reports of the local man found hanging from a mango tree outside his two-storey property in the Phen district of Udon Thani on Sunday morning were met with a scene as bizarre as it was tragic.

Police arrived at the scene already with a doctor and local rescue volunteers. The 50-year-old owner of the property, Mr Thaisan Sonchai, was found hanging from green nylon rope.

Tray with flowers, incense and candles

Inside the home in the hallway, police found the bodies of his 50-year-old wife Watcharaporn and the couple’s two young daughters 23-year-old Kachaporn and 19-year-old Sasithorn. Beside them was a tray laid out with candles, flowers and incense sticks.

Letter on the bathroom door asking for forgiveness

Horrified police found a handwritten note written by Mr Thaisan using good penmanship but indicating that the man was in a highly animated state. The note was written on the back page of a calendar pulled out and stuck to the bathroom door.

In the long note, the middle-aged man complained about being hopelessly indebted and unable to properly support his two daughters financially.

He apologised for the pain and suffering that he had caused.

Tray was an expression of sorrow

It is believed that the man laid the tray on the hall near the bodies of his family as an expression of sorrow.

It appears that the man murdered his wife and two daughters clinically with a piece of wood 50 centimetres in length which was found near the three bodies which had all suffered deep cuts to the head.

Police estimate that the murders took place sometime after midnight on Sunday the 5th January

At the scene, police interviewed 76-year-old Boonchan Saenhemthong who was the killer’s father in law, his wife’s father and grandfather of the two slain girls.

He revealed that 23-year-old Kachaporn had recently graduated from Khon Kaen Univesity with a degree in food technology but was, however, still unemployed while her younger sister Sasithorn was a first-year student there.

Worked with his wife at a local research centre

He told police that his son in law had borrowed upwards of ฿2 million to educate his two daughters.

The 50-year-old man worked with his wife at Zone 4 of the Sericulture Research Centre in Udon Thani which studies the production of silk and also the region’s ancient history.

Similar to the irrational action of a businessman in September in Bangkok who massacred his family

This is a story similar to the September story from Bangkok where 41-year-old businessman Dusit Piboonsawat murdered his 39-year-old wife and young children after a downturn in the family business left the man and his wife feeling that there was no way out.

The couple were unable to keep up with the increasingly menacing demands of moneylenders.

Raises the issue of mental health

Clearly, Mr Thaisan was mentally unstable as was the businessman in Bangkok but both stories are shocking reminders of the human toll of the current economic downturn, the lack of financial and emotional support in Thailand for those in distress and the deteriorating conditions in mental health.

Relationship breakdown and debt – key triggers as Thailand has the highest suicide rate in ASEAN

Thailand has the 32nd highest rate of suicide in the world and the highest rate in the 10 nation ASEAN community.

Mental health experts in Thailand say that the biggest triggers for suicide are relationship breakdowns and financial pressures which of course, are often intertwined.

Further reading:

Businessman murders wife, commits suicide in Bangkok over trade downturn and money issues

Thai wife with cancer decides to take her handsome husband with her in a desperate act of murder-suicide

Police in Pathum Thani find family dead in a car – thought to be a suicide pact as police find charcoal stove