Smartwatch may hold clue to model's death
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Smartwatch may hold clue to model's death

Netizens saw device on Thitima's wrist

"Pretty" product presenters are called for interrogation at the Bukkhalo police station in Thon Buri district, Bangkok, on Sunday as police were investigating the death of their colleague Thitima "Lunlabelle" Noraphanpiphat. (Photo by Watcharawit Phudork)

It will be known on Monday if data from a smartwatch worn by product presenter Thitima "Lunlabelle" Noraphanpiphat is reliable enough to be used as evidence in the criminal investigation into her death, a police source says.

Thitima's mother handed over the device to investigators in the hope it could help solve the mystery surrounding her death, after netizens spotted what appeared to be a smartwatch on Thitima's wrist in a picture shared on social media.

Investigators hope data collected from the smartwatch, which the public sees as a crucial piece of evidence, will shed some light on Thitima's death.

The source said the smartwatch was forwarded to the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) for further examination, and the results due later on Monday.

Pol Maj Gen Samrit Tongtao, commander of Metropolitan Police Division 8, said the smartwatch takes records of the user's movements and heart rate which could be used to help figure out the user's activities.

"But first, investigators have to determine whether the data is reliable enough to be used as evidence," he said.

Thitima was last seen on a surveillance camera footage lying on a sofa in the lobby of a condominium in Thon Buri last week, where Rachadech "Nam Oun" Wongthabutr, the prime suspect, lives.

According to police, Mr Rachadech claimed he and Thitima, a so-called "pretty" or product presenter, met at a party at a house in Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong district.

They had some drinks but she became quite drunk so he decided to take her back to his condo.

Mr Rachadech was seen in the footage carrying the unconscious Thitima into the condo building and later to the sofa at the condo lobby, where she was found dead by her friend.

Pol Maj Gen Samrit said police have interviewed those who attended the party and are scheduled to interview a number of witnesses at the condo.

Mr Rachadech apparently told them that Thitima was his girlfriend and he was taking her to his room. Early reports suggested the victim may have taken drugs before she died, or been given them surreptitiously.

When asked about to confirm media reports that suggest Thitima's blood alcohol level reached 400 milligrammes, a dangerously high level that could be fatal, the commissioner said police are still waiting for a lab test result.

He said investigators are collecting as much evidence as possible and have yet to press charges against anyone.

Earlier, Pol Maj Gen Samrit dismissed reports that police were about to issue an arrest warrant, saying officers had to look further into several alleged offences that might have contributed to Thitima's death.

"Investigators need to know the real cause of Thitima's death, which could have resulted from a heart attack, drug use or excessive alcohol consumption," he said. "The results of forensic tests are still pending."

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