IN a case that has rivetted the country, the suspect in the murder of a toddler who disappeared in Mukdahan province on May 11 last year with her naked body found three days later at a nearby forest, was freed on bail at 5 p.m. today (June 4), Thai Rath newspaper said.
Mukdahan Provincial Court permitted Mr. Chiphol Wipha, or Lung Phon (Uncle Phon), 44, who is the dead three-year-old girl’s uncle-in-law, to be freed with a bail bond of 180,000 baht upon condition that he does not interfere with evidence or witnesses.
Members of a fan club that had come to the court cheered with joy upon hearing the news and later gave him flowers.
Orawan “Nong Chomphoo” Wongsricha disappeared from her home in a village in Dong Luang district, near Phu Pha Yon in Mukdahan, on May 11. Her parents had gone to run errands, so they let their older daughter look after the child. She reportedly told police that her little sister had simply wandered off and disappeared. Her naked body was found three days later in a forest in Phu Pha Yon National Park, Bangkok Post said.
Later after being freed Lung Phon, with tears in his eyes, thanked the court for giving him justice and freeing him to come out and fight the case.
He added that he had no intention of escaping, nor had he intimidated anyone with this not being possible because Youtubers have been following him all the time except for when he slept.
He said in a trembling voice that he hoped Nong Chumphoo was now in a better world.
One member of his team of lawyers, Mr. Sittra Biabangkerd, or Lawyer Tum, said the police and Nong Chumphoo’s mother, Mrs Savittree Wongsricha, had come to the court to object against granting bail. Their lawyers had three witnesses, Mrs Savittree, a male eye-witness and police officers.
The toddler’s mother admitted that in the beginning she did not suspect Lung Phon but later came to object against granting him bail at the advice of police, but they had not intimidated her in any way.
Lung Phon and Nong Chumphoo’s mother Mrs Savittree. Photos: Thai Rath