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Jakarta Post

Male model arrested over death of Thai 'pretties' model Lunlabelle

  • News Desk

    The Nation/Asia News Network

Bangkok, Thailand   /   Thu, September 26, 2019   /   02:52 pm
Male model arrested over death of Thai 'pretties' model Lunlabelle Police in Thailand have charged male model Ratchadech Wongtabut in a widely discussed case involving the death of Thitima Noraphanpiphat. (ST/Facebook/Instagram)

Male model Rachadech “Nam Oon” Wongthabutr has been taken into police custody under a court-issued arrest warrant over three criminal charges in relation to the death last week of a 25-year-old “pretties” model widely referred to by her nickname “Lunlabelle”.

Police are extending their investigation with the aim of also netting other suspects, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Sutthipong Wongpin (bottom pic) told the press on Wednesday (Sept 25).

The 24-year-old Rachadech was arrested on Tuesday night as he was filling the tank of his car at a gas station on Ratchadapisek-Tha Phra Road with his mother.

Rachadech, who was identified as the last person to be with the victim, denied the three charges cited in the arrest warrant of illegal detention resulting in another person’s death, taking away another person for a lewd act and molesting another person.

He maintained his innocence throughout a five-hour interrogation, while insisting that he did not realise that Lunlabelle might have been already dead at the time that he took her to his condominium in the Talad Plu area, said Sutthipong at the Bukhalo police station.

Rachadech later left her in the condo lobby in the early hours of Sept 17.

On Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Area 8 chief Pol Maj-General Samrit Tongtao told reporters that the autopsy report initially cited the victim’s time of death as being somewhere between 3pm and 7pm.

Samrit declined to comment about biometric information obtained from the smartwatch that the victim was wearing on Sept 16.

At the time, she was at a private party after being hired to pour drinks and entertain guests. Samrit confirmed that the smartwatch would be included as evidence.

A police source, however, said the smartwatch’s biometric information was available until 5pm, which was around the time that Rachadech posted a video of her passing out at the party.

If 5pm is confirmed to be the time her heart stopped beating, then that would mean Lunlabelle was already dead by the time Rachadech took her to his condo.

She was reportedly there for six hours before he took her down to the lobby and left her.

The hosts of the private party, brothers Nathee Sathitpongsathaporn and Chaiyapol Panna, told reporters that they would let justice run its course so that the wrongdoer(s) would be punished.

The brothers swore they were innocent before a shrine in the death of Lunlabelle. They have also insisted that they did nothing wrong at the party, which some people have said it allegedly involved lewd acts and drugs.

Earlier this week, Samrit told reporters that the initial autopsy result found a high level of alcohol in Lunlabelle’s blood, suggesting she may have died from alcohol intoxication. No narcotics were found in the body.

The initial result also did not find body fluids from another person in her body.

The mysterious death of the popular "pretties" model has gripped the Thai public as a stream of viral CCTV footage and video clips, as well as other clues, have come out.

This case has also exposed the underbelly of the entertainment business world where product-presenting models, known as “pretties”, make their living as “party entertainers” in exchange for high wages despite the risks to their personal safety.