Missing baby found in cave where kidnapper planned to sacrifice her to spirits

A missing baby girl was found alive in a cave where an alleged kidnapper took her to sacrifice her to forest spirits.

One-year-old Pornsiri Wongsilarung is said to have been abducted by Siew, 44, from outside the family home in a remote village in Chiang Mai province on September 5.

More than 200 police officers, rescue workers and volunteers searched through nearby homes and woodland. Sniffer dogs, aerial search drones and a diving team were also looking for Gina in various places where she could have strayed.

Officers arrested the worker from Myanmar, who was a friend of the girl's father, the next day on Monday and he allegedly admitted kidnapping the youngster and leaving her in a cave around two miles from the family home.

The infant, also known as Gina, is believed to have been alone in three days before she was finally rescued from a wooden hut next to the water-logged cave on Wednesday afternoon September 8.

She was wearing only a shirt, was covered in insect bites and appeared exhausted but was standing on her own and laughing with the rescue teams. Medics then rushed to the hospital to be checked over.

The suspect, who lead the police to the location he allegedly left her, 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."

At the time of the child's disappearance, her 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. The child was playing in front of the home.

Malee later called out to her child after she finished cooking but did not hear a response. She came out and realised her daughter had disappeared.

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Neighbours said they last saw the tot walking on the road around 10 metres away from home.

Relieved mother Malee, who broke down in tears when her daughter was found, 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: "We have been questioning the Burmese man throughout the night. The suspect looked confused and might have been using drugs.

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"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.

"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."

Siew then returned to his home, close to the border with neighbouring Myanmar, before police started questioning him on Tuesday. He reportedly refused to co-operate with officers before breaking down after being grilled throughout the night.

He has since been remanded in custody while officers continuing questioning him on charges of kidnapping a child.

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