Police swooped on the school principal’s residence at 6 am on Friday the 19th. He had returned home on the 18th after being away for two days. The family of the 19-year-old victim from Prachin Buri told police their young daughter was involved with the man at the time of her disappearance and their suspicion that he may have been involved in her death.
Sa Kaeo police with Provincial Police Region 2 grilled a 56-year-old school principal from Suphan Buri over the weekend as he strenuously denied any involvement in the murder of a young woman nearly nine years ago and whose body was missing for eight years. Officers have revealed the murder case against the man turns on forensic evidence relating to the gun which they believe killed her.
Thai police with Provincial Police Region 2 arrested a school principal on Friday morning in Suphan Buri province on an arrest warrant issued by the Provincial Court in Sa Kaeo for the premeditated murder of a young woman, a factory worker, he had been involved with nearly nine years ago, sometime around May 2012.
The arrest of 56-year-old Jumphon Supaphong came after a full police investigation was activated after a body, which was only relatively recently identified as that of a 19-year-old woman, Mayuree ‘Nong Liew’ Yodphanao, showed evidence that she had suffered a bullet wound to the head.
Ms Mayuree went missing to the world after leaving her motorbike outside a Tesco Lotus outlet in the Khlong Rang area of Sri Maha Phot district in Sa Kaeo province on May 5th 2012.
Police searched pond behind a home owned by Mr Jumphon’s wife on February 8th last, bullets found
On February 8th last, the police, as part of their ongoing probe, drained a pond behind a home owned by the wife of Mr Jumphon in the Sri Prachan district of Suphan Buri where he now works as the principal of Ban Nong Sruang School in the same area.
It is reported they found spent bullets and shell casings at the scene which are now central to the case.
Previously a school head in Sa Kaeo province
He had previously been a school head in Sa Kaeo province where he is believed to have met and become involved in a relationship with the murder victim.
The family of the young woman relayed this information to the police since her body was identified years after her disappearance and it was discovered she had been murdered.
They suspected he may have been involved in what happened to her.
Family in Prachin Buri never gave up on the search for their missing daughter, sought help from the Mirror Foundation who found her after 8 years
Ms Mayuree is originally from Prachin Buri province from where her family had been desperately trying to trace her whereabouts for many years after filing a missing person complaint with the police.
In 2019, they brought their case to the attention of the Mirror Foundation, an NGO that helps those in need of legal and other assistance dealing with authorities based in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
That organisation came to identify the unclaimed bodies of three women in a search of the eastern provinces of Chonburi, Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri and Sa Kaeo provinces.
DNA from Mayuree’s mother identified her body
When the DNA from Ms Mayuree’s mother matched one of the bodies found in a sugarcane plantation in the Watthana Nakhon district of Sa Kaeo on November 12th 2012, it was identified as that of the 19-year-old woman.
The body had been interred at a cemetery in Chonburi province when it went unclaimed.
Her family later sought spiritual help to perform a ceremony in the plantation to bring the spirit of the young woman home to Prachin Buri. This saw her parents carry her portrait out of the field where her body was found.
Raid at 6 am on Friday to detain the murder suspect on a warrant issued by Sa Kaeo Provincial Court
Police arrested Mr Jumphon at 6 am on Friday morning after discovering he had returned to his home on the night of the 18th. He had previously left on the 16th and been away for two nights.
He is facing charges of concealment of Ms Mayuree’s body, illegal use of a firearm as well as the capital crime of premeditated murder.
Police officers, over the weekend, after hours of questioning the school boss, revealed he is strenuously denying the charges against him.
Case centres on the murder weapon
He was being kept in custody at a police station in Sa Kaeo where his wife is understood to have brought him medication while he was also joined by a lawyer.
The arrest squad on Friday was led by Acting Provincial Police Region 2 Chief Roy Inkhapairot.
It is understood the case against Mr Jumphon centres around forensic evidence related to a 9mm gun that was reported missing in 2013 following the murder.