Friends mourn murdered dive master

PHUKET: Members of the dive community in Kata and friends of dive master Chompoonut “Jeab” Kobram, 23, are mourning her loss after she was found stabbed to death in a Pattaya apartment on Friday. Police in Bang Lamung District, Pattaya, have arrested and charged Sam Van Treeck, a 24-year-old Belgian, with her murder. K. Jeab, who came from Buri Ram province, finished her PADI dive master course last May and was working for Nautilus Divers in Kata. Her Canadian boyfriend, Noah Meyer, 33, told the Gazette from K. Jeab’s hometown, where he is attending her funeral, that he had been living with her in Phuket for about 18 months and that the couple were planning to marry next year. He was informed of his girlfriend’s murder by the victim’s younger sister, who in turn learned about it from a newspaper. “I talked to [K. Jeab] for the last time on the phone on Friday afternoon and asked what time I should pick her up at the airport, because she was supposed to come back on Saturday. She asked me to call her back, but [when I did] her phone didn’t work,” he said. Police said the murder occurred between 4 pm and 6 pm on June 25. “At first I didn’t believe it. Then I looked and recognized the photos in the newspaper and I knew [it was true],” he said. K. Jeab moved to Phuket in December 2002, Mr Meyer said. Before she became a dive master, she worked as a waitress in an Italian restaurant at Nai Harn Beach. “She was extremely friendly and customers loved her. She was always very thoughtful. She also taught herself to cook Italian food,” he added. “She went to Pattaya to help her friend Sam. He was her ex-boyfriend many years ago, before the two of us were together. He started to call her again three months ago. “She went there alone because she was very independent. I trusted her to travel on her own,” he said Asked what he thinks was the motive for the murder, Mr Meyer said, “I have no idea. It’s still a complete mystery to me. I don’t understand how anyone could do something like that.” Bryony Dalby-Ball, a friend of the dead woman, said, “Jeab was a beautiful woman, a great friend to have and I feel lucky to have been able to get to know her. All her friends love her very much. We’ll miss her.” Canadian Shannon Bunna, owner of the Yoonique Stone restaurant in Nai Harn, a regular hangout for K. Jeab and Mr Meyer, went to Buri Ram for the cremation. She said, “When I heard about it, I was just so shocked. Everyone in Nai Harn knows her well.” Pol Maj Chalermkiat Sirimak of Tambon Dong Tan Police Station told the Gazette that Van Treeck is accused of stabbing K. Jeab 48 times with a short-bladed knife. Van Treeck had denied the charge, telling police that he found K. Jeab already dead in his apartment. Maj Chalermkiat Sirimak said investigators are now reviewing a tape recorded by a video surveillance camera at the apartment building where Treeck lived. Although hesitant to disclose much information about the case while it is still under investigation, Maj Chalermkiat did tell the Gazette that investigators had recovered some strands of hair from the victim’s hands. The hair is now being tested and the results are expected in about two weeks’ time, he said.

Phuket News

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