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Thai woman charged with cyanide poisoning murders

Police believe money was the motive behind the killings which took place over several years
This screen grab taken on April 28 from handout video footage from Thai PBS via AFPTV shows police escorting suspect Sararat

This screen grab taken on April 28 from handout video footage from Thai PBS via AFPTV shows police escorting suspect Sararat Rangsiwuthaporn (center) from a police station in Bangkok on April 26. (Photo: AFP)

Published: April 28, 2023 05:21 AM GMT
Updated: April 28, 2023 05:36 AM GMT

Thai police have widened their investigation into a woman accused of a spate of cyanide poisoning murders, with officers on Thursday raising the number of victims to 13 and charging her with premeditated murder.

Sararat Rangsiwuthaporn, who is married to a senior police officer, was arrested on Tuesday over nine alleged murders which took place over several years.

Police believe money was the motive in the killings but said that Sararat — who is four months pregnant — has previously been diagnosed with psychiatric issues.

Officers were now investigating at least 13 suspicious deaths dating back to 2020, deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn said Thursday.

"She has been charged with premeditated murder," he told reporters in Bangkok.

Television showed Sararat, wearing pale pink and flanked by officers who pushed through a scrum of reporters, being taken from a Bangkok police station into custody on Wednesday.

Police have not specified how many murders she has been charged with, but they say she denies all the allegations against her.

Officers have also expanded the geographic area they are investigating to five provinces, most to the west of Bangkok.

Officers found a substance at the woman's home that authorities believe to be cyanide, and suspect she poisoned the victims' food and drink.

Following routine health checks in prison, the Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday that Sararat is four months pregnant and experiencing stress, blurry eyes and headaches.

Investigators have interviewed her police officer husband and other witnesses.

Police described how a fourteenth person narrowly escaped death after vomiting up poisoned food.

"The suspect lured her latest victim into eating a herb, and around 20 minutes later she collapsed," Surachate said.

He urged the public to contact police with any information about other potential cases.

Police initially suspected the woman of murdering a friend in Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok, about two weeks ago.

Local media said the victim collapsed on the bank of the Mae Klong River after releasing fish as part of a Buddhist ritual.

After questioning the suspect, investigators linked her to other cyanide poisoning cases.

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