Factory worker murder mystery: Appeal court upholds life sentence for principal in eight-year case

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod.

The Appeal Court upheld a life sentence for a school principal found guilty in the murder case of a 19 year old factory worker who mysteriously disappeared for eight years. The news was revealed today, with the Facebook page Missing Persons Information Center, Mirror Foundation detailing the court’s decision and the process of locating the victim’s remains.

Nong Liu, a 19 year old factory worker, vanished without a trace in 2012 after leaving her home to work at the 304 Industrial Estate in Prachin Buri. Her disappearance remained a mystery for eight years, leading her family to seek the help of the Mirror Foundation.

The family, being ordinary villagers, didn’t know how to proceed with the search. Adding to their confusion was an SMS message claiming that Nong Liu was working abroad and not to worry, which made them wait for her return.

The search for Nong Liu began with coordinating with various government agencies and checking their databases. No signs of her movements were found, nor evidence of her travelling abroad. Assessing the deep-seated circumstances before her disappearance, it was feared that Nong Liu might no longer be alive.

A plan was laid out to search for unidentified female corpses by visiting nearly 10 hospitals in a 200-kilometre radius of the last known location of her disappearance. The search was to review records of unidentified female corpses from 2012 to 2015.

Three unidentified bodies were found, but one in particular closely resembled Nong Liu, especially regarding the time of discovery and a tattoo on the ankle similar to Nong Liu’s.

Unidentified corpse

The Royal Thai Police eventually solved Nong Liu’s disappearance. She was found as an unidentified corpse in a sugarcane plantation. It was confirmed through DNA testing that the unidentified woman who was shot and discarded in a sugarcane plantation in Wattana Nakhon District, Sa Kaeo Province, was Nong Liu, reported KhaoSod.

The complexity of the case lay in the significant evidence that had faded over eight long years, and the suspect, who was friendly with Nong Liu, was a government official.

The investigation team began the case by coordinating with the central police to investigate and crucially, Police Colonel Sathit Mitrak, the station head of Wattana Nakhon at that time, conducted a thorough investigation, collecting relevant evidence himself.

The first-instance court sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment, and yesterday, the Appeal Court upheld the life sentence for the defendant, confirming the robust and comprehensive evidence. The unidentified corpse now has a name and surname, the missing person has returned home, and justice has been returned to Nong Liu’s family.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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