The mother and stepfather of a 6-year-old boy will be charged with murder after their child was found dead in a car on Sunday, police in Thailand told local media on Wednesday.
The mother, identified only as Narinrat, confessed to killing her son Saifah Thanormwong after he had defecated in the car belonging to the child’s stepfather Panya Chaichiang-em, the Bangkok Post quoted assistant national police chief Lt. Gen. Surachate Hakparn as saying.
Panya had earlier told investigators that he had beaten the boy unconscious and left him in his car on Saturday night. But Surachate says the mother then admitted to the murder, saying she had beaten her son with a wooden coat hanger.
An autopsy found the child may have suffered from previous beatings, but his final ordeal left him with a fractured skull and broken right arm, Surachate said.
Both parents will face murder charges, the police general told reporters.
According to the newspaper ThaiRath, the family’s neighbors in the Laem Ngop district of Thailand’s Trat province said the boy had endured “long running abuse usually at night,” and that beatings to his arms and legs had left him “virtually handicapped.”
The boy was often made to sleep in the car outside the house, the same report said.
Both parents initially denied abusing the boy, but Panya later confessed to beating him when they were confronted with the autopsy results. Police also took the boy’s mother into custody on the suspicion that she was involved in her son’s death, to which she eventually confessed.
According to UNICEF, an average of 52 children in Thailand are sexually, physically or psychologically abused, neglected or exploited every day in the kingdom. Nearly half of parents and caretakers in the country believe physical punishment is necessary to raise or educate children.
The NGO Save the Children says the Thailand government “has been active in creating new laws and regulations for child protection.” However, some studies indicate that child abuse may have risen as the pandemic forced households into lockdowns.
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