New DNA tests for 3 orchard skeletons

Decision on murder charges awaits results

Police have sent three human skeletons dug up from the Phetchaburi orchard of murder suspect Supat Laohawattana to Chulalongkorn Hospital to conduct a second round of DNA tests.

Forensic officers at the Police General Hospital's Institute of Forensic Medicine gave the three skeletons to Chulalongkorn Hospital's Forensic Medicine Division yesterday.

They want scientists there to match the DNA from the skeletons with samples provided by Lek Hengsuwan, the mother of Samart Noomjui, and of Uean Kerdsap, the mother of Orasa Kerdsap.

The couple, who were employed by Pol Col Supat, went missing in 2009.

Thirachote Jongsakul, director of Chulalongkorn Hospital's autopsy centre, said the test results should be available in seven days.

Mrs Lek said she was pleased that Chulalongkorn Hospital was double-checking the DNA tests.

She remains confident that one of the skeletons is the remains of her son.

Previously, Pol Lt Gen Jongjate Aojanepong, director of the Police General Hospital, said none of the three skeletons tested by the hospital's forensic experts matched the DNA of the missing couple.

Pol Maj Gen Juti Thammanowanich, a deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 7, said the investigation into the disappearance of the couple has stalled after police failed to find any substantial evidence in the orchard.Pol Maj Gen Juti said investigators would wait for the results of the new DNA tests before deciding whether to press murder charges against Pol Col Supat.

Following the discovery of human remains buried in his pineapple orchard, Pol Col Supat was arrested on Sept 22 and charged with theft, possession of stolen items and illegal detention.

Police have not filed murder charges against him.

Pol Col Supat _ a doctor who formerly worked at Police General Hospital _ is suspected of murdering Samart and his wife as well as two Myanmar migrant workers employed at his orchard.

Meanwhile, chief of Tha Mai Ruak police station, Pol Col Pichai Pokpong, who is leading the investigation, arrived at Phetchaburi Central Prison yesterday to file additional charges of possessing unauthorised firearms and ammunition against Pol Col Supat, who has been detained there.

The Criminal Court yesterday began hearing witness testimony in a case in which Suthep Laohawattana, an elder brother of Pol Col Supat, has accused the former police doctor of perjury.

Mr Suthep is contesting Pol Col Supat's request for guardianship of their 96-year-old mother.

Mr Suthep told the court that Pol Col Supat falsely accused him of business failures and being heavily indebted.

Pol Col Supat had petitioned the Central Juvenile and Family Court last November to rule that his mother, Thanim Laohawattana, is an "incompetent person".

Pol Col Supat asked the court to appoint him as her sole guardian.

Mr Suthep filed an objection to the request and has tried to prove to the family court that his mother does not have Alzheimer's disease, as Pol Col Supat claims.

The Criminal Court will decide on Oct 31 whether to accept the perjury case filed by Mr Suthep against Pol Col Supat.

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