The wife of a high-level police officer has been arrested for the cyanide-murder of a woman from Kanchanaburi, and investigators suspect her in the deaths of six other women.
Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, the Central Investigation Bureau commissioner, identified the suspect as Sararat "Aem" Rangsiwuthaporn. He did not reveal her husband's name, but he was reported to be a deputy provincial police superintendent in Ratchaburi province.
Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police armed with an arrest warrant, dated April 25, issued by the Criminal Court, arrested Ms Sararat on Tuesday about 11am at the government office complex on Chaeng Wattana road in Bangkok. She had a bottle of cyanide in her possession.
The arrest followed a complaint filed with the CSD by the mother and the elder sister of Siriporn "Koy" Khanwong, 32, who was from Kanchanaburi. Ms Siriporn collapsed and died on the bank of the Mae Klong river in Ban Pong district, where she went with friends to release fish for merit-making on April 14. Cyanide was found in her body.
Investigators came to the belief that Ms Sararat might be the person who mixed cyanide in Siriporn's food, causing her death. She allegedly also stole the victim's valuables. This led to her arrest.
After her arrest, Ms Sararat was taken to CSD headquarters for questioning.
Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said the investigation was being expanded into whether Ms Sararat had anything to do with the deaths of six other women she had been in contact with and who died in a similar manner.
About 11pm on Tuesday, the death of another woman, Kanika Tuladecharak, 44, was brought to deputy police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn's attention by her father and daughter (names withheld). The two believed Ms Sararat was responsible for Kanika's death.
The daughter said that on Sept 11, 2022, Kanika drove from her home in Bangkok to meet Ms Sararat in Ratchaburi. From there, her mother travelled in the same car with Ms Sararat. According to an account given to her family, Kanika later fainted and died at a PTT petrol station in Potharam district, the daughter said. She said some of her mother's valuables had disappeared. They included a mobile phone, cash and some gold jewellery.
The family suspected Ms Sararat was responsible for Kanika's death.
At the Royal Thai Police office, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the national police chief, said Pol Gen Surachate was in charge of the Siriporn investigation. Since there were six other similar cases, the investigation would be expanded to establish whether all seven cases were committed by the same person, since most of them occurred in Ratchaburi, he said.
Pol Gen Surachate said there were seven deaths in total that seemed related, the last one being in Ban Pong district. He would find out if and how the seven cases were connected. Two of the seven who died were policewomen, he added.
He said he had contacted the parents of five of the seven women for questioning. Some were not even aware their children might have been poisoned and, therefore, did not file a police complaint.
Pol Gen Surachate said the seven cases occurred in Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Ratchaburi provinces, and he had already asked police there to investigate further and report to him.