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Mystery of missing Phuket surfer deepens

PHUKET: The mystery of the disappearance of American surfer Brett Bean has deepened with the news that since emailing his mother, Patricia Lynne Bean, on November 26 – his last contact with her – two withdrawals have been made by ATM from his bank account.


Nattha Thepbamrung

Monday 10 December 2012, 04:01PM


His mother has offered a B50,000 reward for anyone who has information leading to the discovery of her son.

Mrs Bean arrived in Phuket yesterday (December 9). She went to Karon Police Station today and appealed to Phuket media to spread the word to help find him.

Mr Bean, 43, arrived in Phuket in March this year to spend time surfing in Phuket. He was due to fly back to the United States on November 29 but did not make the flight.

Mrs Bean told reporters that in his most recent email to her, at 12.20 Thailand time on November 26, he told her that he was going out to join a friend for lunch. There were no emails after that.

On November 29 she went to meet him, as arranged, at Los Angeles International Airport but he never showed. She contacted staff of the airline, Cathay Pacific, who said that he had been booked on the flight but had not turned up for it.

Since that last email, two withdrawals have been made from his bank account.

The first was on November 27, when B1,500 was withdrawn. The second was on December 5 – six days after he missed his flight home – when another B1,500 was withdrawn from the Siam Commercial Bank near the Chalong Circle, emptying the account.

Police say they are not yet sure who withdrew the money because today is a public holiday and they will have to wait until tomorrow to check CCTV cameras.

Checks showed that Mr Bean left his bungalow, on Soi 10, Patak Rd, in Karon, on November 26. His surfboard and other belongings were found in the bungalow, but his wallet, mobile phone and notebook computer were not. Also missing, from outside the bungalow, was his grey Honda Wave 125 motorbike, license number กรต 443.

“Mr Brett has visited Phuket every year in summer for eight years” said Ananya Insamran, a Thai coordinator with US diplomatic staff. “He is ski instructor in California in the winter and spends summers in Phuket.

“He is a responsible man. He always tells his mother where he is and when he will return. Mrs Bean also said that she does not believe her son has problems with anyone here. He is a peaceable person and is well liked by people in his hometown.

“His Swiss neighbour [in Phuket] said that he would usually go back to his place early, around 7 or 8 pm every day.”

Local people, questioned by police, said they last saw Mr Bean on November 25. Inside the bungalow, none of his personal belongings appeared to be out of place. “The room seems normal. There were no signs of a struggle,” Pol Lt Col Chana Suthimat of Karon Police Station said.

Mrs Bean noted that her son would always pack his bags at least one day before leaving a place.

She has already viewed an unidentified body, possibly Caucasian, which was found on November 23 floating in the waters around Koh Racha Yai. She told Chalong police that she was sure it was not her son. Why police should have shown her a body found three days before Mr Bean’s last communication with his mother is not clear.

Mr Bean is 180 cm tall, 82kg, and has an oval-shaped face with a beard. He has shoulder-length hair and receding hairline. He has two tattoos – one of a small snake on his right thigh and another complex but indecipherable design on his left arm.

Mrs Bean has tentative plans to fly back to the US on December 20. Anyone finding the motorbike, or knowing anything about Mr Bean’s movements or whereabouts since midday on November 26 is urged to call Ms Ananya at 089-646-4191 or Denny Bowman, US Embassy coordinator, at 089-973-3483.

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