A missing one-year-old girl was found alive today after spending three nights alone in a cave where an alleged kidnapper took her as a sacrifice for forest spirits.
Pornsiri Wongsilarung, also known by her nickname Gina, is said to have been taken from outside the family home in a remote village in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Sunday afternoon September 5.
Over 200 police officers, rescue workers and volunteers searched through nearby homes and woodland.
There were also sniffer dogs, aerial search drones and a diving team looking for the toddler.
A young worker from Myanmar – named locally as Siew, 44 – who has been arrested was a friend of the girl’s father, and on Monday he allegedly admitted kidnapping Gina and leaving her in a cave two miles from the family home.
Thankfully, she was rescued alive from a wooden hut next to the cave on Wednesday September 8th.
She was dressed in only a shirt, had been bitten all over by insects, and is said to have been exhausted.
But, she was laughing with the rescue team and seemed to be in good spirits.
She was quickly taken to hospital to be checked over.
The suspect, took the police to the location he allegedly had taken her and said: ‘The forest spirits were telling me to sacrifice a child to the ghost, so I carried Gina and left her in front of the cave. I did not kill her.’
The youngster’s mother Malee Pasee, 23 was cooking in the kitchen and her father Suriya Wongsilaruang, 43, was taking rubbish to a tip around two miles from their home when she went missing, whilst Gina was playing in front of the home.
Malee realised she was gone after she called out to her child after she finished cooking, but did not hear a response
Neighbours said they had last seen Gina, who is 23-months-old, walking on the road around 10 metres away from home.
Malee burst into tears when her daughter was found and said: ‘I have been praying all day and night for my baby to come home safely. I am so happy she is alive. I would have given my own life to see her come home safely.
‘I am so grateful to all the people who have helped to find her. She will be safe again with us. I’ll never let her go again.’
Police Major General Pichet Chiranantasin said that the suspect had confessed to leaving the toddler in front of the cave.
Siew then went home to his house near the Myanmar border, before police started questioning him on Tuesday.
It is said that he was reluctant to co-operate and eventually gave some information after being interrogated overnight.
Allegedly, Siew was in a confused state and under the influence of drugs.
‘He confessed to abducting the girl and leaving her at the cave. When he told us this we were able to make him tell us the location and we could find the girl.’
Siew has been remanded in custody while officers continue questioning him on charges of kidnapping a child.
The police chief said: ‘We need to question the suspect more about the motive, if anybody else was involved and to check if he did anything to the girl. We will also wait for medical reports on her condition.’