Cadet's autopsy reveals internal bleeding

Cadet's autopsy reveals internal bleeding

Cadet's father says finding points to possible assault

Pichet and Sukanya Tanyakan, father and mother of Pakapong
Pichet and Sukanya Tanyakan, father and mother of Pakapong "Moei" Tanyakan, carry the boxes containing the organs of their son from the army-run Phramongkutklao Hospital where they were stashed away. Meanwhile the panel investigating the death wants to interrogate the parents about who revealed the damaging information about Pakapong's death. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The family of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (Afaps) cadet who died last month says a haemorrhage in his spleen and liver has shown up in the autopsy's result, which could suggest the cadet was subjected to physical assault prior to his death.

Pakapong "Moei" Tanyakan, an 18-year-old first-year cadet, died on Oct 17, one day after he returned to the school after a short break. The cadet's sister, Supicha, said Sunday the family received the latest autopsy findings from the Army Institute of Pathology of Phramongkutklao Hospital.

The hospital earlier reached a conclusion that he died from cardiac arrest, a finding disputed by the parents, who suspect other factors may have been involved. The latest results on his spleen and liver have been released now because they weren't available earlier at the time of the original finding.

The family says the latest findings also leave them suspicious. A small haemorrhage was found in her brother's spleen and liver, and the family is suspicious about it, said Ms Supicha. The teen's fourth rib was also found to be broken.

Phramongkutklao doctors said although CPR had been performed on Pakapong for four hours, this was unlikely to have affected his spleen and liver, she noted, adding this issue needs explaining.

She said doctors said the cadet had cardiomegaly, a condition associated with an enlarged heart, which contrasted with the results of his health check-up on Oct 13 which indicated her brother's heart was normal. Based on these irregular health conditions, it is important to find out whether he died on account of being physically harmed, Ms Supicha said.

Ms Supicha said she was told by a trauma surgeon that the cadet's broken rib was likely to have been caused by an intense blow, not by CPR. CPR was unlikely to have caused bleeding in his spleen either, she noted, citing the surgeon.

She was speaking at a press briefing in Chon Buri Sunday, over the death of her brother, which her father Pichet, and mother Sukalya also attended. At the briefing, the family thanked Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, his deputy, Prawit Wongsuwon, and Supreme Commander Thanchaiyan Srisuwan for promising to ensure justice in Pakapong's death. If Pakapong lost his life because of an assault, offenders must be brought to justice, they said.

Mr Pichet said his family has no intention of damaging the reputation of the armed forces or the school with the revelations about Pakapong's death, which they shared with the media. Mr Pichet said he merely wanted the school to be wary of problems that can prevent a repeat of such a tragedy. He said his family will press ahead with efforts to find out the cause of Pakapong's death.

Meanwhile, ACM Chawarat Marungruang, Deputy Chief of Air Staff of the Royal Thai Air Force Headquarters, who chairs the panel probing the case, said the investigation has made headway.

"If possible, we want to invite Pakapong's parents for questioning on how they received information [about the cadet's death] and if anyone has given them distorted information," said ACM Chawarat. Asked whether the panel is worried that Pakapong may have lost his life as a result of disciplinary punishment, ACM Chawarat said the cadet's medical records would clarify everything.

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