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On Tuesday the House Committee on police affairs met to consider the death of Natnaree Melgul, who police from Bophut police station discovered hanged last November. It brought together police officers, the woman’s parents, a doctor and a public prosecutor to testify.
It was decided that the dead woman’s former boyfriend and rescue workers will be subjected to a lie detector test in Bangkok, a move that came about after public prosecutors raised doubts over the local police investigation into her death.
Pol.Lt.Gen, Yongyuth Charoenwanich, Provincial Police Region 8 commissioner admitted that police investigators that handled the case were negligent and had failed the parents of the deceased. Investigating officers Pol Lt Supanat Engyong and Pol Lt Col Thawatchai Promthep were transferred to another police station in Surat Thani after concerns were raised over their handling of the case.
Pol . Lt Gen Yongyuth promised Natnaree’s death would be re-investigated in order to determine if her death was in fact suicide as first assumed or if it was murder.
After her death the woman’s body was examined by Dr Teerawat Limpanichakul, he told the house that her autopsy took place at Samui hospital because the police failed to call him to the scene of the apparent suicide. He concluded that the woman had suffocated but had not carried out a through autopsy on the woman’s body as no such request had been made.
Somchai Losatapornpipit, house committee chairman conclude that the police had failed to follow proper legal procedure by not having the woman’s body examined at the scene.
When Nittaya Salae was told that her daughter had committed suicide, she just accepted that is what had happened. Her daughter had been to visit her just prior to her death and told her that she was very unhappy and was thinking about quitting her job at Koh Samui Hospital as she was having problems with her boyfriend who also worked at the hospital. Ms. Nittaya encouraged her daughter not to throw away her job and she returned to the hospital. On November 21st when she got a call to say her daughter’s body had been found hanging in her one bedroom rental house located in a row of houses popular with the hospital staff she just assumed her daughter had committed suicide and did not suspect foul play.
At 7-30am Natnaree had phoned in sick on the day of her death and her boyfriend later called a neighbor to go and check on her. On arrival at the room at 9am the friend found her dead.
Her mother travelled to Koh Samui to pick up her body and take it home for burial, in accordance with Muslim traditions. When she arrived at the morgue her daughter’s body had already been wrapped up. When she returned home to Satun province and unwrapped the body she was shocked to see that her daughter had bruises all over her body, a deep cut in her upper lip, extensive bruising to her wrists and right eye and her neck was broken in such a way her head could be rotated 360 degrees. Distressed at the unexplained injuries she returned to Samui to find out what had happened and demanded to see photographs of the crime scene, that showed a smashed mirror and signs of a struggle.
For the next eight months she tried to establish a case of murder having been told previously that there had been no suspicious circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death.
Eventually she found out about the Club for Justice who offered her advice on how to tackle the case. When she discovered her daughter’s case had been sent to the provincial prosecutors office, she persisted and asked the Surat Thani Provincial police to take over the case but all they did was appoint a new investigator, but he did not investigate any further and told her that her daughter must have just hurt herself. The Club for Justice eventually bought the case to the attention of Pol Lt Gen Yongyuth Caroenwanit, the commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8