Chokechai Police have gathered evidence to present to court in seeking a warrant for the arrest of Atsaya Chaipa, 33, said Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Lt Gen Charnthep Saesawet.
Atsaya is believed to have murdered Thitima Tangwibunphanit, 39, a businesswoman dealing in construction, real estate and transport, at a hotel on Pradit Manootham Rd between July 26-27.
Her body was found in her hotel room on Monday (July 30) during a month-long stay at the property. Police mounted a search after Ms Thitima’s family reported her missing to Chokechai Police on July 27.
According to Chokechai police chief Col Surapol Khamchoo, Ms Thitima was last seen on security camera footage entering the room with Atsaya around 10:40pm on July 26. About three hours later, Atsaya was captured on film leaving the room alone.
On the morning of July 27, Ms Thitima’s family said they called the woman on her mobile phone, which Atsaya answered. He said Ms Thitima could not talk at that time because she was busy making merit, according to Col Surapol.
The family then sent the woman messages on the Line app, which had not been read, and Ms Thitima did not return their calls. Col Supol said the family regularly spoke with Ms Thitima on the phone to discuss business matters.
On Monday, police traced her phone signal to the hotel on Pradit Manootham Rd.
They said her skull had been cracked and a blood-stained baseball bat had been left near the body.
Police suspected Atsaya, who is believed to have been romantically involved with the woman, and who may have had access to some of her assets, took off with Ms Thitima’s car, a Mercedes E-class sedan, in the early hours of July 27.
Police have pressed murder and theft charges against him.
Col Supol said Atsaya had driven the woman’s car to the Thai-Cambodian border in Chanthaburi. He may have crossed the border and the police have alerted the Cambodian authorities.
Police also came across bank records showing Atsaya had withdrawn hundreds of thousands of baht. However, it was unclear when the withdrawals were made and from whose account the money was taken.
Col Supol said Ms Thitima had lodged a complaint with Chokechai Police against Atsaya for assault. According to the complaint, the suspect had tried to strangle her.
Maj Gen Theerapong Wongratthapitak, chief of the Metropolitan Police Division 4, said the suspect may have killed Ms Thitima during a fight. He allegedly amassed gambling debts and borrowed a significant amount of money from her in the past.
Amnuay Wichaichote, 66, Ms Thitima’s father, said his daughter’s firm was contracted to build a government-run housing project in the Lat Phrao-Wang Hin area.
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