Manhunt ordered in 'body in fridge' case

Manhunt ordered in 'body in fridge' case

A BMW owned by Wannee Jiracharoenying is towed to the Provincial Police Region 5 office in Chiang Mai for examination by forensic experts. (Photo by Panumet Tanraksa)
A BMW owned by Wannee Jiracharoenying is towed to the Provincial Police Region 5 office in Chiang Mai for examination by forensic experts. (Photo by Panumet Tanraksa)

National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda has ordered a manhunt for a key suspect wanted in connection with the murder of millionaire Wannee Jiracharoenying, 58, whose decomposing body was found in a refrigerator at a house in Chiang Mai's Chom Thong district on Sunday.

The move came after an arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday for Withun Sitabut, 39, from Lampang, who is now wanted on charges of robbery resulting in the death of Wannee, who was from Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan.

Mr Withun is still the only suspect to be identified by the investigation team probing the murder case, said Pol Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen, deputy spokesman for the national police, on Wednesday.

He dismissed media reports the suspect had already been apprehended.

Pol Gen Chakthip had instructed that all possible investigation techniques be deployed to track down the suspect, said Pol Col Kritsana. Police say he first met the victim when he took her and a group of Buddhist nuns to a temple for dhamma practice. They later became friends and went shopping together.

A BMW car owned by Wannee and allegedly stolen by Mr Withun had been found abandoned in a wooded area in Chiang Mai’s Saraphi district and seized for inspection, he said. It was towed to the Provincial Police Region 5 base in Chiang Mai on Wednesdy for forensic police to examine evidence.

In another development, a woman said to be a girlfriend of Mr Withun was detained at Chiang Mai airport for questioning, said a source.

The source did not say when she was arrested.

Identified only as Nam, the woman was detained on arrival in the northern province after a trip to Koh Samet in Rayong province with Mr Withun.

She told police Mr Withun paid for her trip, both the return flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and a car rental to take them from Bangkok to Koh Samet, where they checked into a luxury resort and went on a spending spree.

At the end of the trip, Mr Withun saw her off at Don Mueang airport before she boarded a plane back to Chiang Mai, said the source.

Pol Lt Gen Prachuap Wongsuk, commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 5, said Mr Withun’s girlfriend had provided useful information.

The source said there are two more suspects in this murder case, a woman and a man identified only as Ton who is thought to be a friend of Mr Withun.

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