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Parents of dead student puzzled by cuts, bruises

The parents of a 7-year-old girl who was found dead in a school van on Tuesday afternoon in Chon Buri said on Thursday they will seek a second autopsy if the results of the official one by the police’s Institute of Forensic Medicine fail to clear up their doubts over how she died.

Methika Kosonplangsi, 31, Thai-anan Thongyu, 28, the mother and father of Khemmanij or Jihun Thongyu, on Thursday sought to have the body of their daughter transferred to the Central Institute of Forensic Science while they await the police’s official autopsy results.

“The results are expected in two weeks from now and the funeral can wait until all doubts are cleared up,” said Ms Methika.

A preliminary forensic examination found Jihun died as a result of heatstroke, said Pol Maj Gen Chaipot Suwannarak, deputy commissioner of and spokesman for the Provincial Police Region 2.

Ms Methika expressed concern about the bruises on her daughter’s wrists and legs and the scratches on her arms, which she said she had not noticed earlier that morning when she bathed Jihun.

Lawyer Monchai Chongkrairattanakun said the family has other doubts, even though the preliminary autopsy found she died of a heatstroke.

A private school van driver and a teacher who took the girl to school that morning were charged with recklessness causing death, said Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, deputy national police chief.

Both have admitted to a serious negligence charge and could face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of 200,000 baht each, said Damrongsak.

Up to 129 children are known to have been left alone in cars from 2014 and 2020, six of whom consequently died, he said, citing statistics published by the Department of Disease Control that suggest tighter controls are needed.

A preliminary investigation found that Jihun was among seven students riding in the same van to school that morning. It came to the conclusion that she had likely fallen asleep after she moved to a back seat to allow a young student to take her place in a front seat, he said, adding that afterwards she apparently succumbed to the heat.

Credit Bangkok Post

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