PHUKET SANDBOX MURDER UPDATE – POLICE SAY ARRESTED SUSPECT NOT A SCAPEGOAT

Police on Phuket have arrested a 27-year-old Thai man who has reportedly confessed to the murder of a Swiss national, two days after her body was found at a local waterfall.

The confession followed an intensive interrogation of the man, who had gone to the site to collect wild orchids, Thai media reported.

PHUKET SANDBOX MURDER UPDATE – POLICE SAY ARRESTED SUSPECT NOT A SCAPEGOAT

National police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk flew to Phuket on Friday with a team of top investigators to oversee the case, the first serious incident to be reported since the Sandbox program began on July 1.

Given the intense pressure on police to solve the case, online commentators have speculated that officers would look to grab a scapegoat quickly. Pol Maj Gen Nanthadet Yoinuan, deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 8, said this was not the case, as investigators had obtained firm evidence and the suspect had confessed.

According to his confession, he attempted to rob her but she resisted. During a struggle, he killed her and fled the scene. The murderer also confessed that part of the 300 baht he stole from her was spent on cigarettes and marijuana.

PHUKET SANDBOX MURDER UPDATE – POLICE SAY ARRESTED SUSPECT NOT A SCAPEGOAT

Police investigators had examined security camera video in areas near the waterfall and taken some people in for questioning.  One of interviewees acted suspiciously and a check found bruises on his body.

During interrogation, the interviewee confessed, according to the police source. Police searched him and found an ID card that identified him as Mr. Teerawat Thothip, 27, of Thalang district in Phuket.

The suspect, known locally as “Bang Lee”, told police investigators he spotted the woman when he went to the waterfall. He reportedly claimed to have become aroused but when he attempted to act on that impulse, the woman resisted. They fought, and he pressed her head into the water until she died and then he fled.

The bruises and wounds on his body occurred during the struggle and from a fall onto some rocks at the murder scene.

PHUKET SANDBOX MURDER UPDATE – POLICE SAY ARRESTED SUSPECT NOT A SCAPEGOAT

Police on Friday released the timeline of the Swiss woman’s activities since her arrival in Phuket, ending with her 18-minute walk, alone from her hotel to the waterfall, about 1.4 kilometres away, on Tuesday.

Pol Gen Suwat said earlier that surveillance camera footage showed the victim had gone alone to the crime scene. He did not elaborate, pending the release of the official autopsy report.