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Principal arrested for young woman’s murder

A school director was arrested in Suphan Buri on Friday on a warrant for the murder of a 19-year-old woman in Prachin Buri eight years ago.

Investigators from Provincial Police Region 2, led by acting region police chief Pol Lt Gen Roy Inkhapairot, took Jumphon Supaphong, 56, into custody at his house in Sri Prachan district of Suphan Buri on Friday morning.

Mr Jumphon, director of Ban Nong Sruang School in Sri Prachan district, was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Sa Kaeo Provincial Court on charges of premeditated murder, concealment of a body and carrying a firearm in public. 

He denied all charges.

Police took him to Watthana Nakhon police station in Sa Kaeo.

Mr Jumphol was a school director in Sa Kaeo before moving to Suphan Buri.

Mayuree “Nong Liew’’ Yodphanao, 19, a factory worker in Sri Maha Phot district of Prachin Buri, went missing on May 5, 2012. Her motorcycle was found parked at the Tesco Lotus Khlong Rang branch in Sri Maha Phot district that day.

Her parents and relatives tried in vain to find her before they filed a missing person complaint with police. In 2019, the parents asked the Mirror Foundation to help find their missing daughter.

Staff at the foundation took up the case, including gathering information about unidentified  bodies in four eastern provinces  — Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri and Sa Kaeo.

There were three unidentified female corpses. Staff thought one of them might be that of Mayuree. Her mother gave a DNA sample for comparison.

In December last year, the DNA result showed the mother’s DNA matched with one of the unidentified bodies. The dead woman had been shot and her body hidden in a sugarcane plantation in Watthana Nakhon district of Sa Kaeo.

A local resident had reported finding the body on Nov 13, 2012. The body was never claimed and was later interred at a privately run cemetery in Chon Buri.

Thai media reported that her family told police Mr Jumphon had a close relationship with Mayuree, and they suspected he was involved in her death.

On Feb 18, police investigators drained water from a pond behind the house of the school director’s wife in Sri Prachan district, while searching the property. They found some bullets and spent cartridge cases. 

Police then obtained an arrest warrant for Mr Jumphon from the Sa Kaeo court. 

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