POLICE ARE looking for a Thai couple in their 30s who rented a house in Samut Prakan's Bang Saothong district and abruptly moved out, after the body of the woman's 10-year-old daughter was found in the Samrong canal in the neighbourhood on Sunday.
Neighbours in the area identified the stepfather as Wajaran Tadsawan, 35.
Police said they suspected the couple might know something about the case.
Local resident Samran Jaipook, 68, whose grocery shop is 200 metres from the spot where police found rope of the same kind used to bind the girl's body, said a Saraburi delivery man and his factory maid wife had rented her house for the past two years.
She said the couple's three-year-old daughter had stayed with them and at Songkran they took in the wife's 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
The stepfather was said to be hot-tempered and was often seen scolding the girl.
The couple suddenly moved out of the house on Sunday but people did not see the 10-year-old leave with them, Samran said, adding that the couple claimed the girl had been sent to stay with other relatives.
Samran said she grew suspicious when police showed her pictures of the dead girl's body, which had a bruise in the same area that the girl suffered from a previous attack by her stepfather.
She added that she and her neighbours also identified the cloth covering the body as belonging to the girl. Police were still looking for the couple as of press time.
Earlier yesterday morning, police joined soldiers to raid a Bang Saothong shoe factory and the workers' dormitory on Soi Mummai and rounded up 22 migrant workers for DNA testing.
There was no immediate word of a suspect being identified.
The factory was targeted after the owner acknowledged ordering rice from a Roi Et mill whose brand name appeared on a sack containing rocks and concrete blocks that had been used to weigh down the victim's body.
The girl's fingerprints were not matched in a search of the Provincial Administration Department's database.
Police have asked the Mirror Foundation's Missing Persons Centre to check its database for anyone matching the victim's description and the Immigration Police Bureau to see if there was any record of a foreign visitor who might be a match.