Suspect Arrested, Charged Over Model’s Death

Rachadech Wongtabutr is flanked by police officers shortly after his arrest on Sep. 25, 2019.

BANGKOK — Police on Wednesday morning arrested a man in connection with the recent death of a promotional model, which struck her family and social media as suspicious.

Rachadech Wongtabutr, 24, was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday and charged with illegal detention leading to deaths of others, abduction with intent of committing an indecent act, and indecency. The most serious charge – indecency – carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

Police said a formal news conference would be held later today.

CCTV footage showing Rachadech carrying Thitima’s unconscious body on Sept. 15-16.

Investigators identified Rachadech as the last person seen with model Thitima “Bell” Noraphanpiphat, 25, shortly before she was found dead in his condominium lobby on Sep. 17. Video footage shows Rachadech dragging the unconscious body of Thitima into his room earlier.

Medical examination established that Thitima died of acute heart failure and signs of sexual assault were found on her body, police said. It also found a high level of alcohol in her blood system.

Investigators believe she was dead hours before she was found at Rachadech’s condominium.

Related stories:

Friends Say ‘Bell the Pretty’ Led a Talented Life Before Mysterious Death

‘Bell the Pretty’ Died Before She Was Taken to the Condo: Police

Autopsy Says ‘Abducted’ Model May Have Been Raped