BANGKOK — Police said Tuesday morning that a popular model found dead in the lobby of a condominium last week died hours before she was taken there.
Police Maj. Gen. Samrit Tongtao, commander of Metropolitan Police Division 8, said a forensic examination suggested that Thitima “Bell” Noraphanpiphat, 25, died sometime between 3pm to 7pm on Sept. 16. Examiners also found a fatally high level of alcohol in her blood.
So far, no one has been charged over her mysterious death. That includes Rachadech Wongtabutr, 24, who was seen in CCTV footage carrying her unconscious body into his room before taking her down to the lobby several hours later.
Before finalizing charges against suspects, the police are looking into questioning two more people in connection with the house party in Bang Bua Thong where Thitima and Rachadech were hired to work on Sept. 16 as entertainers.
“We have to question more eyewitnesses to find out the exact time of death, as it determines which jurisdiction the case belongs to,” Samrit said.
Attention has shifted to the smartwatch Thitima was wearing on the day of her death, which some netizens believe might contain biometric information that would reveal when her heart stopped. Samrit said he is waiting for the cybercrime police to conclude findings.
“The TCSD [Technology Crime Suppression Division] is extracting the information from the watch, which will be used as evidence to support charges and help determine her time of death,” Samrit said. “However, we have to discuss with experts to see whether the information is accurate.”
Rachadech maintains that he was unaware of Thitima’s death while carrying her to his room, and has denied drugging her or committing sexual assault, according to the police. Though investigators found condoms and sildenafil inside his bag, they found no traces of narcotics or stimulants.
On Monday, a police source reported that preliminary forensic results found a high concentration (418 milligrams) of alcohol in her blood, a level which experts say can cause unconsciousness and even death. The full report is expected to be out on Wednesday.