Police chief claims Chompoo was abducted, but fails to identify the perpetrator

Three-year old Chompoo went missing from her home in Dong Luang district of Thailand’s northeastern province Muk Dahan on May 11th this year.

Her body was found three days later by police and local officials on the Phu Lek Fai Mountain, five kilometres away, after they were alerted by a wild mushroom hunter, who said she found the sandals of a child near a dirt road in the area.

In his first news conference, since he took over as the new National Police Chief today, Pol Gen Suwat said that, during the four months since Chompoo was found dead, police have questioned 383 witnesses and 13 experts, have examined 113 pieces of evidence and have collected 154 DNA samples from potential suspects.

With all the evidence, he said police have come up with enough reasons to believe that the child did not venture onto Phu Lek Fai Mountain alone, but was, in fact, abducted by an unknown individual who then directly or indirectly murdered her.

For instance, he said all four routes to the spot where the body was found are on a 60 degree slope, which would have been impossible for Chompoo to climb, because she could not even climb the stairs at home.

Also, she shouldn’t  have the energy to climb up the steep mountain, after having consumed just three spoons of deep-fried egg and one bottle of orange juice.

The child was found naked and her parents maintain that she could not take off her clothes herself and she was afraid of heights, darkness and the jungle, said the police chief.

Questioned about the suspects, Pol Gen Suwat said there are some individuals under suspicion, but he could not give any details, admitting that the case is tough because of public pressure.

Seven people, including Chaiphol Vipa, or “Loong Phol”, the victim’s uncle, were under suspicion by the police, but none of them have been charged due to lack of evidence. Forensic tests have found no signs that the child was sexually assaulted.

Loong Phol, who was present at the Police Chief’s press conference, told the media he is not worried and maintained his innocence.

His lawyer called on the police to name the real suspect, noting that Loong Phol has already been convicted in the minds of the public.

The case has been dramatized by some TV channels, to the extent that Loong Phol became a folk hero, with commercial offers and invitations to take part in TV talk shows.

 

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)