Tangmo: Fresh autopsy of Thai actress dispels suspicions (preliminary findings)

Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan speaks at a press conference to discuss the preliminary findings of the second autopsy of the Thai actress Tangmo on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

A second autopsy of the body of Thai actress Nida “Tangmo” Patcharavirapong was conducted Thursday afternoon by the Central Institute of Forensic Science at Thammasat University Hospital in Bangkok.

The actress’ mother, Panida Sirayootyotin, requested the re-examination to confirm her daughter’s cause of death and to dispel any skepticism surrounding the high-profile investigation.

Tangmo drowned in the Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi north of Bangkok late on a Thursday night three weeks ago, after allegedly falling from a speedboat. Five other people were onboard.

At a press conference yesterday evening, the review panel of forensics experts announced their preliminary confirmations of the additional autopsy. Here are the key takeaways…

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teeth: NOT broken
skull: NOT broken
leg wound: still cannot determine whether it was caused by a propeller
eyes: the same, no bleeding
neck: normal, no marks from choking or asphyxiation
bladder: no urine, already rotten
brain: awaiting further examination from lab results

Tangmo: Fresh autopsy of Thai actress dispels suspicions (preliminary findings) | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: A screenshot from a graphic on Thai TV showing the 11 points requested for re-examination of the body of Thai actress Tangmo.

Ahead of the re-examination, forensics expert Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan fielded questions from Thai media.

Dr. Pornthip, a Human Rights Commissioner and Senator, said she didn’t recommend a second autopsy because she believed the science of the initial report and the evidence at the scene of the crime were sufficient. But she added that a re-examination could be helpful, if only to clear the mother’s concerns and help answer the suspicions of Thai netizens…

“People should believe in the first autopsy. For the second autopsy, we’ll have to wait for two weeks in order to confirm all the details.”

Speaking again at a press conference yesterday evening, Dr. Pornthip revealed she had served as a counselor and witness during the new postmortem, which began at 2pm and lasted about three hours.

Notably, she said the leg wound happened before Tangmo died, though the cause remains unknown. She said the experts will compare the wound to other wounds from past autopsies to determine what caused it, and whether or not it was the boat’s propeller.

Regardless, Dr. Pornthip said that the finding of the autopsy would not be revealed to the media because it could affect the investigation process.

“The police officers, doctors, and inspector team will work together to find the answer for each question.”

How did we get here?

Thai actress Tangmo drowned in the Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi north of Bangkok on the night of February 24, after allegedly falling from a speedboat on which she had been partying with five other people.

Search and rescue team recovered her body from the river nearly two days later. The resulting investigation, which today enters its fourth week, has been mired with false witness testimonies and a perceived lack of transparency from the police.

It has received 24/7 coverage in Thai media while netizens concoct countless conspiracy theories online.

Notably, gruesome images of her corpse while in the rescue vehicle were leaked online, drawing much condemnation – and fueling conspiracy theories that centered on apparent ‘wounds’ not mentioned in the initial autopsy report.

Her mother, Panida Sirayootyotin, eventually requested a re-examination of her body last Saturday, to confirm her daughter’s cause of death and to dispel any skepticism surrounding the high-profile investigation.

On Monday, doctors from Police General Hospital gave a detailed explanation of the circumstances of Tangmo’s death to her mother Panida Sirayootyotin and her lawyer. No evidence of murder was provided.

Police say the existing evidence and witness claims show her death was likely an accident.

It’s also the same explanation presented in the report to investigators from the Muang police station in Nonthaburi on Monday.

Afterward, the actress’ mother said the police explanation had dismissed her doubts about the cause of her daughter’s death. However, she still wanted to go ahead with the second autopsy to verify their claims.

The body of the actress was then moved from the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Police General Hospital to Thammasat University Hospital Rangsit campus on Tuesday, where forensics doctors awaited the go-ahead to conduct the second to alleviate public doubts.

On Wednesday, the institute’s 15-member board voted unanimously in favour to conduct another postmortem, according to secretary to the justice minister Thanakrit Jitta-areerat.

The second autopsy was performed yesterday afternoon at the university hospital. Afterward, the review panel of forensics experts gave their preliminary findings at a press conference.

What happens next?

After three weeks of investigation, and significant pubic interest and speculation, police have yet to draw definitive conclusions and close the case.

So far, only the boat owner “Por” and skipper “Robert” have been charged with driving an unlicensed vessel and negligence leading to death. But police have said all five witnesses on board will likely be charged with giving false statements and recklessness that lead to the death of the Thai actress.

Police now await the full report from the second autopsy to either confirm or contradict what they already know. That could take another two weeks.

Meanwhile, “Por” and “Robert” have left Bangkok for the province of Ratchaburi along the mountainous Thailand-Myanmar border, where they have been ordained as “brahmin” or “yogi” as a symbolic act of repentance. They have accused police of “stalking” them. But police argue they’re just doing their job while the investigation remains open. The two witnesses have denied suspicions that they plan to flee to nearby Myanmar, where the Royal Thai Police would not have jurisdiction to obtain them.

Three days of Christian memorial services for Tangmo were held last weekend at Liberty Church Bangkok. You can watch rewatch the livestream of the first service on Friday night here.

SOURCE: KHAOSOD | Bangkok Post

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