Girl kidnapped for 'sacrifice' found safe

Girl kidnapped for 'sacrifice' found safe

Rescue workers carry Nong Gina to her home after the little girl was found alive, about three kilometres away in Mae Taeng district. (Police photo)
Rescue workers carry Nong Gina to her home after the little girl was found alive, about three kilometres away in Mae Taeng district. (Police photo)

CHIANG MAI: A young girl missing from her home in a remote village has been found safe in a hut after being put into a cave where she was abandoned by her abductor as a sacrifice to the spirits of the forest and mountains.

Rescuers found 23-month-old Phonsiri "Nong Gina" Wongsilarung yesterday morning, about three kilometres from her home, police said.

They were led to the cave by a man who confessed yesterday morning that he had kidnapped her on Sunday night.

Nong Gina's mother, Mali Pasi, 23, confirmed she was found alive and safe in an abandoned hut in a banana plantation after the girl managed to escape the cave and find the hut.

"I was very happy when I saw my daughter again. It is like I am reborn,'' she said with tears in her eyes upon seeing her daughter for the first time in several days.

She hugged her daughter and kissed her cheeks amid a crowd who came from their homes nearby in the district to give her moral support.

"I have to thank authorities and everybody for helping locate my daughter. I was worried about her so much,'' Ms Mali said.

After a brief reunion between the mother and the daughter, an ambulance took the girl to Mae Taeng District Hospital for a check-up.

Provincial police chief Pol Maj Gen Pichet Jiranantasin said the man who kidnapped the toddler had given directions and accompanied rescuers to the cave. They hoped to find the girl alive, he said.

The girl's disappearance from her home in Ban Huay Fak Dap in tambon Inthanin of Mae Taeng district sparked a huge search.

The suspect was identified only as Siew, 44, a Myanmar national and friend of the girl's father, Suriya Wongsilarung.

He had been detained for questioning as a prime suspect.

Pol Maj Gen Pichet said Mr Siew confessed he took the girl from the village and abandoned her in front of a cave about three kilometres from the village, as a sacrifice to the spirits of the forest and mountains.

Mr Siew had confessed yesterday morning after two days of intense interrogation. Initially he had been evasive about giving information, Pol Maj Gen Pichet said.

Mr Siew said he left the girl in front of the cave and returned to the village.

Pol Maj Gen Pichet said Mr Siew cooperated with rescuers.

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