Massacre in Thailand: No drugs detected in system of daycare centre killer

It comes as a great shock that no drugs were detected in the body of the ruthless killer who massacred 37 people – including 24 children under 6 years old – yesterday at a daycare centre in Nong Bua Lamphu province in northeast Thailand.

The former policeman was dismissed from the force for failing a drug test. He appeared in court yesterday morning on a drug charge and was due to attend court again today.

Given the perpetrator’s history of drug abuse, and strong links between methamphetamine and violent crimes in Thailand, police assumed that only someone experiencing a meth-induced psychotic episode would be capable of committing acts of such extreme terror.

Police reported yesterday that the killer was most likely high on drugs, but it would need to be confirmed by a test.

Even Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, when asked how he would prevent similar scenarios in future, replied…

“What can I do about it? He is a drug addict.”

However, MGR reports that no drugs were detected in the deceased body of 34 year old Panya Khamrap, who committed suicide after shooting dead his final victims – his wife and three year old son.

The killer’s motives may always be unknown. However, solely blaming methamphetamine for the massacre may not be a sufficient explanation since he was not on drugs yesterday.

While the killer’s test came up clean, police say he has a history of alcohol and drug abuse. While he was still a policeman, Panya began “drug-related behaviour,” “annoying villagers” and “shooting people’s dogs” in Nong Bua Lamphu, according to police.

Earlier this year, he failed a drug test and was found in possession of methamphetamine. He was dismissed from the force on January 20.

Thailand collectively mourns the 37 lives lost in the tragedy and officials worldwide have expressed their condolences.

Despite widespread coverage in Thai media that only one child survived the massacre, three 3 year old children who crossed paths with the murderer yesterday came out alive.

In 2020, a soldier from the Royal Thai Army shot dead 25 people at a shopping centre in Nakhon Ratchasima. In 2021, another soldier, also in Nakhon Ratchasima, shot dead 21 people.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.