UPDATE: Phuket Provincial Police Chief Maj Gen Pornsak Nuannu on Monday (Feb 15) confirmed that Mr Theeraphong did suffer a head injury and that medical examiners were investigating the injury as part of their investigation into Mr Theeraphong’s cause of death.
The man was last seen drinking with friends last Thursday night (Feb 11).
Lt Wiroj Pornprapruk of the Phuket City Police was called to the scene, in Soi Bang Chi Lao 2, at about 6:30pm on Saturday.
Police arrived with Kusoldharm rescue workers and forensic police investigators to find the man’s body inside a drainpipe measuring about 60 centimeters wide.
The body had already started to decompose, police noted.
Local resident Phichai Kaewmoonmuk, 55, confirmed the body recovered was that of his 35-year-old son, Theerapong.
Mr Phichai said he had been searching for Mr Theerapong for two days. He identified the body by his long hair and a tattoo on his son’s right shoulder.
Mr Phichai explained that Theerapong was last seen last Thursday, when he was drinking with two friends at a small shack about 50 metres from the pipe.
“Me and my neighbours together searched for him for two days, but we could not find him,” he said.
Forensic police noted that no signs of assault were found on Mr Theerapong’s body and no weapons were found in the area.
Mr Theerapong’s body was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for further examination.
Forensic officers returned to examine the scene further yesterday (Feb 14). Tracks and what appeared to be scuffle marks on the ground near where the body was found are now believed to be nothing more than tracks caused by the people searching for Mr Theerapong, forensic police later explained.
Mr Theerapong was last seen on Thursday night drinking and talking with friends Saman ‘Mood’ Khontrong, 43, and Prasit ‘Blue’ Pensuk, 50.
Mr Saman told officers that he was walking back from fishing when he saw Mr Theerapong sitting talking with his friend Mr Prasit at the shack near the drainpipe at about 10pm, so he went to join them.
However, Mr Prasit told police that Mr Saman joined them at about 00:30am.
Mr Prasit also said that after about half an hour, at about 1am, he told Theerapong and Saman that it was time for him to go home, but he invited the two to join him at his house to continue their quiet evening.
Mr Prasit said he went home and waited for them until midnight, but they didn’t arrive.
"I thought Theerapong went to Saman’s house, so I had a shower, ate dinner and went to bed," he said.
"Then in the morning a neighbor told me that Theerapong’s motorbike had been found parked in the middle of the [dirt] road near the pipe," he added.
"I asked Saman if they kept drinking that night, and he told me that Theerapong was following him back to his house on his motorbike, but along the way Theerapong disappeared and did not turn up at his house later,” Mr Prasit explained.
"Saman said he thought Theerapong came to my house," Mr Prasit said.
A search was launched for Mr Theerapong after Mr Saman reported finding Mr Theerapong’s motorbike parked in the middle of the dirt track near the drainpipe.
"I, together with village chief [Phu Yai Baan] of Moo 2 Surach Saengnak and 30 other local residents, searched for Theerapong," Prasit said.
Mr Theerapong’s father, Mr Phichai, suspects foul play. He said that his son was not very talkative, but liked spending time with his friends.
"I suspect that my son has been murdered, as I saw a big wound on his head. The wound doesn’t look like one from falling from a motorbike," he said, despite forensic police in their initial report noting that no signs of assault were found on Me Theerapong’s body.
"However, I still have to wait for the police report about his cause of death," Mr Phichai added.
Forensic police noted in their initial report that they will continue their investigation and question Mr Thereapong’s friends and other people in the area further.
They are also to wait for confirmation of the cause of death from the medical examination being conducted on Mr Theerapong’s remains at Vachira Phuket Hospital.
Offices will also check CCTV footage from the area, the report noted.