Boonna Thong-ngam is the first suspect arrested since 23 piles of burned human bones were found in a forest in Ban Phue district in Udon Thani beginning on April 21 this year.
Mr Boonna was captured at his home in Ban Phue district in Udon Thani and charged with murdering Bang-orn Thong-on. Police did not say when the 57-year-old man was arrested. He was taken to a media briefing at the provincial police office in Muang district yesterday (May 16).
An arrest warrant has also been obtained for former policeman Pramote Buppasri in the same case, deputy police chief Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan said.
Pramote, who was formerly stationed at Ban Phue police station, is serving life imprisonment at Khlong Phai prison in Nakhon Ratchasima after being convicted in another murder case.
Mr Boonna admitted that he and former Sr Sgt Maj Pramote killed Bang-orn and took her body into the forest in Pramote’s pickup truck, where she was burned in a pyre of three rubber tyres, according to police.
Mr Boonna told reporters that the murder stemmed from a dispute over money between Bang-orn and Pramote. The victim refused to lend money to the former policeman. The two took her cash and gold ornaments after the murder, and he was given B14,000 in cash by Pramote, he said.
The suspect did not say when the killing occurred.
Bang-orn, 52, a reputed loan shark, was last seen at her house on June 4, 2014. Her charred remains were found on June 8 in the same year in the forest. But police at the time did not have evidence to find the murderers.
Since the additional piles of human bones were found, 41 people have contacted investigators reporting missing people. Police have taken DNA samples from them for testing against samples from the bones.
Gen Chalermkiat said 28 samples tested so far by the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Police General Hospital did not match any of the bones. Another 13 samples would be sent for comparison soon, he added.
Maj Gen Kajornsak Pansakhon, the deputy commander of the Provincial Police Region 4, hoped for coopertion from Sr Sgt Maj Pramote with police to shed light on other human bones found in the area.
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