‘Cyanide killer’: Traces of lethal poison found in suspect’s car
Traces of cyanide have been found inside a car belonging to the 36-year-old woman police suspect murdered 18 people with the lethal poison to avoid repaying debts she owed them, a forensics expert said on Friday.
More than 20 samples were collected from the car of suspected murderer Sararat “Am” Rangsiwuthaporn.
Traces of cyanide were found in samples taken from the driver’s side of her car’s dashboard, said Assoc Prof Weerachai Phutdhawong, a lecturer at Kasetsart University’s Department of Chemistry.
Weerachai will perform more tests on a package containing a suspicious substance that was confiscated from the suspect’s house when he receives it, he said.
Weerachai is a chemistry expert that the Office of Police Forensic Science relies on to examine chemical samples.
Police investigators have compiled a list of 19 people they believe may have been poisoned by the suspect. Eighteen of them died under suspicious circumstances, police said.
Only one – Kantima Paesaard, 36 – survived after allegedly being poisoned by the suspect, police said.
They had known each other for over six years, and Kantima had lent 250,000 baht to Sararat before being poisoned in September of last year, police said.
Deputy national police chief General Surachate Hakparn, who is overseeing the investigation, described the suspect as outgoing, friendly, and talkative.
Her lively and cheerful personality allowed her to earn the trust of her suspected victims, Surachate said.
Sararat borrowed money from the 18 people who may have died of cyanide poisoning and their deaths can be linked to the debts she owed them, Surachate said.
One of the suspected victims was Sararat’s common-law husband – 35-year-old Suthisak Poonkwan. He died on March 12 in Udon Thani province and the cause of his death was said to be cardiac arrhythmia.
His gold jewelry worth over 100,000 baht and an unknown amount of cash were reportedly missing following his death.
The suspect celebrated her birthday the same day her husband died, police said.
There were no reports of poisoning tests in 16 of the post mortems of the suspect’s alleged victims.
However, two deaths that occurred earlier this month were subjected to poisoning tests and traces of cyanide were found in the blood of the two deceased.
Pol Major Nipa Sangchan, 38, died on April 1 in Nakhon Pathom due to heart failure. She was last seen with the suspect. An autopsy found cyanide in her blood.
Siriporn Khanwong, 33, died of heart failure on April 14 in Ratchaburi. She was last seen with the suspect. An autopsy found cyanide in her blood.
The suspect was arrested on Tuesday on the charge of premeditated murder. She is being held in pretrial detention.
Police said on Thursday that she would also be charged with committing premeditated murder with the intent of stealing, as well as poisoning others, and theft.
She faces the death penalty if found guilty of a single case of premeditated murder.