Thai cadet's autopsy stalled due to shortage of required chemicals

Thai cadet's autopsy stalled due to shortage of required chemicals
PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

The Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) has still been unable to match the DNA of a deceased cadet and preserved organs that were believed to have been removed from his body, reportedly because of a shortage of required chemicals.

"We have to confirm via DNA tests first as to whether these organs really belong to Pakhapong Tanyakan before we proceed to determine what caused his death," CIFS director Somn Promaros said yesterday.

Pakhapong, an 18-year-old first-year student at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS), died on October 17 in what his family believes were suspicious circumstances.

The family submitted his body to the CIFS on October 25, while the school has maintained that Pakhapong succumbed to a cardiac arrest.

After the CIFS performed an autopsy and informed the family that some of Pakhapong's organs were missing, the family made a public statement calling for a transparent investigation into his death.

The military-owned Phramongkutklao Hospital then said some organs had been removed from the body as part of the autopsy at its facility. The hospital returned the preserved organs to the family, which submitted them to the CIFS for a detailed examination on November 23.

"We are carefully checking the organs in line with professional standards," Somn said. He said the DNA tests for the organs took time because they had already been exposed to the preservative formalin.

"We need a special formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded solution," he said.

A source said the CIFS had run out of the solution and would need to wait for funds to buy it.

Somn had not mentioned the issue when asked about Pakhapong's case.

"Please give us time. We will work to the fullest of our ability in preparing the autopsy report. After we finish, we will forward it to Pakhapong's family as well as police," he said.

Several investigations are ongoing to determine if anyone should be held responsible for Pakhapong's death.

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