Police are confident that their investigation and the evidence obtained will help them catch the killers of the two British backpackers who were bludgeoned to death on Monday on the resort island of Koh Tao, the police general supervising the probe said yesterday.
However, Pol Lt General Panya Mamen, commander of Police Region 8, did admit that the investigation into the gruesome killings of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, had to start over as DNA samples collected from the victims and the scene do not match any of the 12 suspects.
"We still believe we will bring the attackers to justice. Police have collected a lot of evidence and interviewed many people, and this should help us find the culprits. There is a lot of evidential information that we cannot reveal to the media right now," he said, adding the investigation would expand to nearby islands.
Sadly, the clues revealed by Panya so far have proved to be blank and the suspects have been released.
Preliminary forensic evidence revealed that the semen in Witheridge's body did not match the DNA collected from the 12 suspects. Accordingly, all suspects, including the migrant workers, have been released.
Also, the two DNA samples collected from one of the three cigarette butts found in the crime scene "did not contradict" the semen found in Witheridge's body, though it did not match the samples collected from the 12 suspects.
Panya said Christopher Ware, a male travelling companion of Miller, was now a free man and could leave Thailand if he wished. He had initially been stopped from boarding a plane back to England and was asked to remain in Thailand pending DNA results.
He was initially suspected of having a hand in the murders as he had scratches all over his body and a serious wound on his hand. However, closer inspection proved these wounds were old.
Panya also said that Ware had been very cooperative with the police and would be considered a witness.
Tourist Police chief Pol Maj-General Apichai Ti-amataya, meanwhile, said the British Embassy had taken Ware and his brother James under its wing yesterday and it is likely that the brothers have already boarded a flight back home.
If further evidence proves that Ware was involved in the killings, then police will ask the British Embassy to help have him extradited, he said.
As for the pair of stained pants found in Miller's luggage, the general admitted that the substance found on the clothing was not blood and that they belonged to Miller and the pair had been put in the victim's luggage by the first group of police officers.