Three people have now been detained for questioning in connection with the disappearance of a toddler after police suspect she was kidnapped by a people-smuggling network.
A source said the investigation into the kidnapping of 23-month-old Phonsiri “Nong Gina” Wongsilarung is focused on human trafficking. Two men and a woman have been arrested by the police.
The case is being handled by Mae Taeng Police Department and detectives from Chiang Mai Provincial Police Station and Provincial Police Region 5.
“Nong Gina” went missing from her home in Ban Huay Fak Dap in tambon Inthanin of Mae Taeng district on Sunday night.
She was found safe and sound in a cave at a banana plantation about 2 miles from her home on Wednesday morning after a Myanmar national, identified only as 44-year-old Khun Siew, confessed to taking the child to a cave about 2 miles from the village. the village as an offering to the spirits of the forest and the mountains.
Siew was identified as a friend of the girl’s father, Suriya Wongsilarung.
The source said the detainees also claimed that “Nong Gina” is a specific target of the people smuggling network and that the police are investigating the allegation.
The investigators and social workers plan to interview “Nong Junior”, the girl’s brother, who claimed he was present when his sister was taken away, according to the source.
Captain Nathapon Kaewkamnerd, chief of police for Mae Taeng, said the police suspect that Khun Siew was not acting alone in the disappearance of the girl and that he is accused of taking a minor from her parents.
He said police suspect the girl was kidnapped and hidden somewhere before being taken to the abandoned cave after the case attracted national attention. It is unclear how much weight they still place on claims that she was kidnapped for an offering to the spirits.
Meanwhile, Suriya said his daughter, who suffered from exhaustion and had minor cuts and insect bites, is recovering and mental health specialists will assess her later.
He said the family is relieved and happy to have her back and will leave the investigation to the police.
According to the Mirror Foundation’s Missing Persons Information Center, Thailand has no known cases of child abduction for spiritual sacrifice. Most cases of missing children are related to human trafficking for commercial exploitation or family conflict, the Mirror Foundation said.
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