Overnight national celebrity “Uncle Pon” has now become a prime suspect of the murder of his three-year-old niece Chompoo in a notorious unsolved case last year.
Three-year-old Nong Chompoo had gone missing from her home in the Dong Luang district of Mukdahan province on the morning of May 11th, 2020. Her parents and local residents spent four consecutive days searching for her until the body of Nong Chompoo was discovered without her clothes in the woods 5 kilometers from her home at Phu Pha Yon national park.
Seven suspects, including Chaipol Vipha, aka Uncle Pon, had their DNA collected as a part of the investigation. Uncle Pon became a prime suspect based on suspicions of the girl’s mother, saying that he seemed to love his niece way too much and that he wanted to raise her if the parents abandoned her.
An autopsy had been done three times in two months on the body of Nong Chompoo. However, all of them failed to confirm an actual cause of death, meaning there was no lead and no murder to investigate. Her body was cremated for ritual purposes and the case remains unsolved.
Uncle Pon became a rising star in one stroke after being interviewed daily on several local media outlets following the death of Nong Chompoo which, as many Thai residents believed, had proved his sincerity and his down-to-earth lifestyle. He passionately proclaimed his innocence and earned a huge following. He also launched a Youtube channel with his wife, recording his ordinary rural life, filming music videos, and gaining a significant and devoted fanbase. Much of the Thai public became convinced that he might not be involved with the murder of his niece. His reputation and growing fame overshadowed the unsolved question of the mystery of how she died.
Within four months, Uncle Pon’s life was changed from a rural one to a Thai superstar. His home was redecorated with funds from his “fans” and his home had become a tourist attraction for visitors to the local region where he lived. He became known for engagement with his followers and meeting them at his home. He was featured in a music video of famed country singer Jintara Poonlarp. He was hired as a brand presenter to appear at entertainment events. His YouTube channel has almost nearly 6 million views and 220,000 subscribers as of press time.
It has been a year since the Nong Chompoo case. The Royal Thai Police had continued the investigation since and eventually revealed more details on May 26th, 2021, that three pieces of hair were discovered at the scene and were potentially believed to belong to the alleged murderer.
On the night of June 1st, Royal Thai Police issued an arrest warrant against Uncle Pon for three charges of abducting a minor, abandoning a child resulting in death, and interfering with evidence.
Chaipol has turned himself in to the police on Wednesday after an arrest warrant has been issued while many of his relatives and his lawyer believed that he was innocent. Chaipol has continued to state he is innocent while the investigation continues.
As of this evening, he was granted bail with a surety of 180,000 baht by the Mukdahan Provincial Court after the police requested for a 12-day detention, reasoning that the suspect might be destroying or interfering with leads and evidence during a further investigation.
A surety of 180,000 baht in cash that was offered by Chaipol’s lawyer has been approved. Chaipol’s wife along with his supporters who were waiting for a hearing in front of the court was overjoyed by the Court’s decision.
We will give more details on this story as the case unfolds in the future.
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