SURAT THANI – A 27 Year-old Thai Man has been arrested on charges of strangling an 18-year-old girl to death and later setting fire to her body and her motorcycle to destroy evidence.
Police apprehended Peeraphol Nuansaneh, 27, at his house in tambon Chang Sai of Kanchanadit district on Saturday in connection with the murder of Jarinya Chuayprayak on May 13.
The burned body and motorcycle were found in roadside bushes at Sri Khuan Thong village in tambon Chang Sai on May 17 after her relatives filed a missing person report with police on May 13.
Police earlier picked up two suspects for questioning. One was Sarayut Khongkhai, 35, the husband of the deceased, and the other was Mr Peeraphol. Both denied any involvement.
Investigators later sought approval from the Surat Thani provincial court to arrest Mr Peeraphol after CCTV footage showed him taking a gold necklace and a gold ring belonging to the victim to sell at a gold shop in Muang district of the southern province. Scratches on his body also matched DNA found at the murder scene, said police.
Pol Col Cherdpong Chewpreechya, deputy chief of Surat Thani police, led a team of officers to interrogate the suspect at the provincial police head office.
During the interrogation, officers said Mr Peeraphol admitted he rode his bike from a spot where Mr Sarayut and Ms Jarinya were buying rubber latex from local residents on May 13. As the woman rode her motorcycle to take her nephew home, he followed her and parked his bike at his house. He later waited in ambush for the woman along the route, officers said.
As the 18 year-old victim was riding from her house, he suddenly emerged and assaulted her. Police said he told them he strangled the victim until she collapsed and stole her gold necklace and ring. He then kicked her and her bike into a ditch before leaving.
At around 11pm on that day, he returned to the murder scene to set fire to her body and bike in a bid to destroy the evidence. Mr Peeraphol reportedly told police he committed the crime alone.
Police have charged him with murder, concealment of a corpse, and theft.
Janya Santhong, 38, the victim’s mother, said she did not believe the suspect acted alone even though police had evidence to implicate him. She raised suspicions about her son-in-law’s behaviour.
Mr Sarayut had never looked for his wife after she went missing, said the mother. Only she and her relatives had tried to find her daughter, who married Mr Sarayut just five months earlier.
She called on police to continue investigating the case.