Col Mana said yesterday (Sept 21) after a four-hour meeting with Pornchai Sutheerakun, head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Royal Thai Police, that details regarding Mr Thawatchai’s autopsy indicated his ribs were broken and liver ruptured.
Col Mana did not disclose more details.
“From gathering evidence in the past 21-22 days, we can prove that it was possible Mr Tawatchai was likely killed by others but could not say whether it was murder. Further investigation is needed,” Col Mana said.
Meanwhile, Thawatchai Mekprasertsuk, chief of the Central Police Forensic Science Division (CPFSD), said the division had forwarded to Thung Song Hong police investigators the results of its test of DNA and fingerprints collected from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) detention room where the land fraud suspect was found.
Investigators were expected to compare that evidence with the DNA of two people found on the socks believed to have been used by Mr Tawatchai to allegedly hang himself.
Also, a team of experts found in a preliminary inspection of footage from the DSI’s security camera system that the footage showed no signs of having been edited or doctored, said Maj Gen Thawatchai.
The team was expected to complete its probe and forward results and footage to investigators by tomorrow (Sept 23), he said.
Meanwhile, Mongkutwattana Hospital yersterday insisted yet again that Mr Tawatchai’s ribs weren’t broken or his liver ruptured while being treated at the hospital.
In his response to a remark by forensic expert Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan that Mr Thawatchai’s ribs weren’t broken and his liver wasn’t ruptured while he was at the DSI, hospital director Rienthong Nanna insisted Mr Tawatchai did not sustain the trauma at the hospital either. This has thrown the case into further doubt.
A previous autopsy conducted at the Police General Hospital revealed Mr Tawatchai suffered abdominal haemorrhaging and had a ruptured liver, possibly as a result of being hit by a solid, blunt object.
That has stirred up controversy regarding whether he committed suicide or was murdered while in detention, prompting the Justice Ministry to launch a probe into the actual cause of his death. EARLIER REPORT
Police investigators said yesterday it was possible former land official Tawatchai Anukul could have died by a third hand, but denied he was murdered.
The conclusion came after Maj Gen Pornchai Suthirakhun, chief of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Police General Hospital, and other medical personnel who did the autopsy on the land fraud suspect were interrogated for four hours.
“Based on the evidence, there are indications that it’s possible that Mr Tawatchai’s death is likely caused by another person. But I must stress that it was not a murder,” Col Mana Porchuay, chief of Thung Song Hong police station, said.
“The investigation will expand to cover all people involved.”
Col Mana said officers had discussed the ruptured liver and broken ribs issues with coroners, but he declined to give details. He said the investigation at this stage related to the autopsy results and no allegation would be made against anyone. The probe aimed to determine whether Mr Tawatchai committed suicide or was killed by someone else, either accidentally or with lethal intent.
The 66-year-old Mr Tawatchai, who had been detained on charges of allegedly issuing unlawful land ownership documents in Phuket and Phang Nga, was found hanging in the detention room on the sixth floor of the DSI’s headquarters in the early hours of Aug 30. An autopsy released by the Institute of Forensic Medicine, part of the Police General Hospital, linked his death to abdominal haemorrhaging caused by a ruptured liver from being hit with a solid, blunt object, and asphyxiation from hanging.
Suspicions arose immediately about whether he was murdered or committed suicide, and were subsequently fuelled by the contributing causes of death listed in the autopsy report, especially involving his liver injury.
Mongkutwattana General Hospital director Rienthong Nanna yesterday said the injury to the liver of the former land official did not occur while he was under the hospital’s care.
“During the time Tawatchai Anukul was in the Critical Care Unit, there was no incident that could pose a possible danger to Mr Tawatchai’s liver,” Maj Gen Rienthong poste on his Facebook page.
According to Maj Gen Rienthong, between the time Mr Tawatchai was X-rayed at 2:20am until his body was moved out of the Critical Care Unit at 7:51am, to be sent to the Forensic Medicine Institute, there were no signs of broken ribs or ruptured liver which were mentioned in the autopsy report.
He again denied the DSI’s earlier suggestion that the ruptured liver may have been caused by pressure from CPR performed on Mr Tawatchai. He said medics performed CPR on him on three sessions between 3:20am and 3:41am, with the first session lasting 30 seconds and the last two lasting two minutes each.
Maj Gen Rienthong invited forensic expert Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan, and members of her fact-finding committee looking into the alleged suicide of Mr Tawatchai, plus other medical specialists to check the hospital’s CCTV camera footage which showed what happened since the former land official was brought in, and to question concerned hospital staff, in order to help them clarify contentious issues to the public.
“The length is more than 5 hours and a half. No editing. It shows actual events in efforts to save (Mr Tawatchai’s) life,” the message said.
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