Body in fridge sparks murder probe

Body in fridge sparks murder probe

Police are searching for a female friend of Wannee Jiracharoenying, a wealthy estate developer believed to have been murdered after a decomposing body was found in a refrigerator at a house in Chiang Mai's Chom Thong district on Sunday.

Wannee was reported missing by her brother, Mr Worapan, on Sunday, after friends and family had been unable to contact her for two weeks.

The female, identified only as "Oom", is reported to have become friends with Wannee this month after they were seen together donating a new minivan to Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong and at Suan Dok Hospital in Chiang Mai province where Wannee donated 19 million baht.

Ms Oom has not been seen since the disappearance of Wannee, and relatives reportedly told police that she has travelled overseas — an explanation that police are currently attempting to verify with immigration.

Although they have not yet formally identified Ms Oom as a suspect, the police are seeking her out in the belief that she might be able to provide valuable information about the apparent murder of the wealthy philanthropist.

Pol Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen, deputy police spokesman, said that the body has been sent to Maharat Chiang Mai Hospital for identification and an autopsy.

According to police, Mr Worapan lost contact with Wannee after she told him she was in Chom Thong to participate in a dhamma practice course at the temple and was staying at her house in tambon Bang Luang.

Police said that Wannee had sent a text to a female friend on Oct 16 saying she was about to go to Vietnam but the friend did not hear from her again. When Mr Worapan learned about the Vietnam trip, he believed something was amiss and alerted police.

A team of police went to the house and noticed a foul smell emanating from a refrigerator lying on its side in the kitchen. They found a body inside, covered in lime powder, with the head covered with a plastic bag and feet and hands tied.

According to police, the body was decomposing and the sex of the victim could not be identified. A subsequent search found that Wannee's BMW Sedan and her mobile phone were missing.

Pol Col Kritsana said the investigation is in its early stages and all possible motives will be looked into, adding that several large sums of money had been withdrawn from Wannee's account during the two weeks that she was missing.

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