American, Thai wife escapees still in ICU

American, Thai wife escapees still in ICU

Sirinapa Wisetrit sits by her injured American husband Bart Allen Helmus during the police arrest in Sa Kaeo province on Wednesday. (Royal Thai Police photo)
Sirinapa Wisetrit sits by her injured American husband Bart Allen Helmus during the police arrest in Sa Kaeo province on Wednesday. (Royal Thai Police photo)

An American inmate and his Thai wife who escaped from custody are still being treated in an intensive care unit as they are in serious conditions, a doctor said on Thursday.

Puwadol Kittiwattanasarn, the Sakaeo Crown Prince Hospital director, said on Thursday both Bart Allen Helmus and his Thai wife  Sirinapa Wisetrit are still in the ICU and their conditions were serious.

Mr Helmus is on a ventilator but his wife can breathe on her own, INN News quoted Dr Puwadol as saying.

In another interview, the hospital chief said the woman was suffering from bleeding in the brain and she was not pregnant.

The doctor was responding to earlier police reports that the American might have decided to escape after learning his wife was pregnant.

"She told us she was not pregnant," Dr Puwadol said. "The woman could be stressed, which might have caused missed periods."

The American, his Thai wife and another Thai prisoner Noi Nilthes fled from the Pattaya Court on Monday, injuring a police officer on duty at the courthouse. They were among 14 inmates in custody at the Special Prison at Nong Pla Lai in Bang Lamung district of Chon Buri province who were being transported to the court to stand trial.

The three were arrested in two different locations on Wednesday in the areas bordering Khao Chakhan and Watthana Nakhon districts of Sa Kaeo province.

Mr Helmus resisted the arrest. When they were surrounded by police, the American fired one shot at his wife and then turned on himself. The couple were sent to the hospital in Muang district of Sa Kaeo.

He added 10 people who knew Mr Noi were involved in their escape in which five vehicles were used. One of them, Warakorn Ditthamalee, was later caught.

Mr Warakorn allegedly gave a pistol to Mr Noi when he used one of the vehicles to visit him at the prison. Mr Noi used the firearm to shoot Pol Capt Thanamet Photipan, who was on duty at the courthouse after the officer refused to give them the jail keys and Mr Helmus stabbed him with a knife, according to Pol Lt Gen Satawat, who did not explain where the knife came from.

After the escape, they went on a pickup truck which stopped at a location in Si Racha district in Chon Buri. Their accomplices used pliers to cut the chains and put them in another pickup truck, which dropped Mr Helmus and his wife in Kabin Buri district of Prachin Buri. A car then took the couple to Watthana Nakhon district of Sa Kaeo. A SUV was seized before it would be used to send Mr Helmus and his wife to cross the border to Cambodia.

The escape had been planned for two months, Pol Lt Gen Satawat said, adding he was not convinced that the presumed pregnancy of Mr Helmus' wife was the reason for the breakaway. The real motive could be their drug charges, he added.


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