TRAT – A teacher and a retired teacher jumped to their deaths in an apparent double suicide off a bridge in southern Thailand’s Trat province Tuesday morning. Police found farewell letters written to their children found inside their car.
Following an alert that the two women had gone missing, a rescue team set out in search of them. As of Tuesday evening, the team had not been able to locate them.
A 32-year-old man told reporters he saw two women in a Honda car with Trat license plates parked on the bridge around 11.45am on Tuesday. He told police that he was riding a motorcycle across the bridge but did not pay much attention to them.
After a few moments, he heard the loud splash of something falling into the canal.
As he rode back to the car on the bridge where he discovered two pairs of sandals on the bridge. It appeared that the two women had committed suicide by jumping from the bridge.
When police arrived at the scene they searched the parked car and found two teacher ID cards inside.
The ID cards bear the names of Ms Paweena Patnuson, 45, and Ms Lakkhana Phanarot, 61. Both were teachers at Nong Khansong School in Trat. According to police they were relatives.
Teacher leave suicide letters
Two handwritten letters with messages about what drove them to commit suicide were also found.
Ms Paweena apologized in her letter to her two children and those from whom she borrowed money. She said she became bankrupt after being cheated.
The woman appealed for mercy to the person who mortgaged her land by allowing her children to pay back in instalments.
She asked her children to pay the lender 7,000 baht each month for the house where her family lived. In the letter, she only included the lender’s phone number.
Ms Lakkhana apologized to her two children for being unable to live with them anymore. As much as she and their young aunt had tried, they were not able to continue living.
In her words, they should be strong. She deposited money with the Trat branch of the teachers credit union, and asked her children to speak with someone in the bank’s credit department.
The 23-year-old son of Ms Paweena, Jeerawat Ratchawong, rushed to the bridge after learning about his mother’s situation around 12.30pm.
No signs of distress
In the morning before his mother left the house, Mr Jeerawat said he talked to her in a normal way with her. Around 9am, she called him to remind him to see a doctor as he was sick.
He said he learned about his mother’s alleged suicide after checking the Trat’s provincial news Facebook page. There he saw his mother’s car on the bridge and immediately rode his motorcycle to the scene.
Mr Jeerawat said he was aware of the fact that his mother had been cheated, and there had been no signs his mother would take her own life. Ms Paweenaleft also behind two younger boys attending school in Trat.
It is believed that rescuers began the search around 12.45 pm. The three boats that were used for searching for the two missing teachers have turned up no traces of them as of Tuesday evening, when they were last seen.
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