With a tiny cake in hand, friends and families sang “Happy Birthday” as they laid to rest popular Thitim “Bell” Noraphanpiphat on Thursday – her birthday – as more troubling messages emerged that could hold clues to her fate.
While her family was holding its wake for Thitim, a commercial model found dead in the lobby of a Bangkok condo earlier this week, the public was convulsing with amateur, who-done-it speculation and expressing frustration that the last man she was seen alive with had neither been formally named a suspect nor arrested.
“Can the Thai police please arrest the bad guy yet? @SnookerThree tweeted this afternoon along with the trending hashtag #NamOon, which is the nickname of the man, Rachadech Wongthabutr.
That clamor grew as more chat messages were being attributed to Rachadech, the model and personal trainer who carried her limp body in and out of his room before depositing her in his lobby. The messages indicate that whoever sent them – his profile photo is visible in the images but the police have not confirmed they are genuine – knew something was very wrong with her.
He denies any wrongdoing and says he took her home because she was too drunk and passed out without telling him where she lived.
People have been trading online what were presented as leaked chat messages indicating that Thithim had been drugged for sexual assault. One shows what’s said to be her passed out on the floor of a car. In others, the sender points out that Thitim’s lips are purple, her body cold and her heartbeat “very faint.”
“The kid’s lips are purple, what have I done?” read a message sent at 5:54pm.
Another sent around 1am in the same chat group as all the others, observes that Thitim’s body is cold speculates that “cold air-conditioning” could be the reason.
The police have commented on neither the content nor authenticity of the purported images.
Another purported chat message also from the same chat group shows a photo of Thitim deposited on the lobby sofa where she was later found dead, purportedly sent by Rachadech to his unidentified friends.
A new video clip from inside the condo shows Rachadech dragging Thitim by her arms across the floor and down the hall to his room.
Despite police insisting they are carefully investigating the case, the messages and clips have whipped up fury online, where Rachadech has already been found guilty in the public eye.
“The bastard hasn’t even shown any remorse yet. The way he dragged [Thitim] to his condo is already not okay. I can’t stand this. He’s an animal, not human,” @TeddyKung tweeted Friday afternoon, referring to the clip going viral.
It looked even worse for Rachadech, who earlier this week refused to let police into his room, when multiple media outlets reported today that ketamine and steroids had been found in his blood. Reached via phone today, regional metro police chief Somruek Khongtao, however, denied this, saying the police had not yet received the blood test results.
Refuting that was another police officer, Col. Manop Sukonthannapat, who told Coconuts Bangkok by phone today that the blood test results had been received, though he refused to discuss the details of the findings. Manop said police are still questioning witnesses and collecting evidence.
Thithim was last seen alive publicly on Monday, when she was paid to attend a private party in northwest metro Bangkok. That’s where Rachadech said he was also working when he volunteered to take her home. That’s also where he posted the first of several deleted clips showing her already passed out and barely conscious at 4:48pm.
Ten people – six men and four women – at that party have all been interviewed by police.
On Thursday, which would have been Thitim’s 26th birthday, her mother posted a heartbreaking message about her daughter’s death.
“Since birth, you were a good kid and person. Wherever you go, people love you. This year, we don’t get to celebrate your birthday together. It makes me so sad that I am separated from you this year. You are my heart,” she wrote online.
Friends and families also gathered to sing happy birthday to Thitim at her funeral.
Kanoktip Tummanon, who posted the video on Facebook, expressed anger toward Rachadech in a message. She said that in the many years she was close friends with Thithim, she had never done any drugs.
“Let’s wait for the official autopsy report. And let’s all make sure that – if someone truly is guilty – my friend will not have died for nothing,” she wrote Wednesday.