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Police in the eastern province of Trat said this morning that a man confessed to killing his stepson two days after he was found dead in the family’s parked sedan.

Lt. Col. Teeradet Masthanaphan of Laem Ngop district police said Panya Chaichiang-erm, 44, admitted to beating the boy unconscious after first fabricating an unconvincing poltergeist story to explain his death.

“The stepfather is currently in custody and we are gathering witness accounts to help bring this case to a close,” Tiradech told Coconuts.

The 6-year-old boy, identified only as Sai-Fah, was found dead Sunday by the family’s Honda sedan parked outside their home. Initially, Panya and the boy’s 36-year-old mother Narinrat, denied harming the child.

But Maj. Gen. Pakorn Maneepakorn said an autopsy found the boy had a fractured skull and broken arm, and had been dead six hours before his body was discovered. 

It was the neighbors, who said the boy had been abused for some time, who told the police the boy had died in the car, after which his parents removed his body. 

Panya initially told the cops that the boy liked sleeping in the car and was alive when he was put in the vehicle the night before. 

Police said that when confronted with the evidence, Panya admitted he beat the boy Saturday night after becoming angered by his crying. After he lost consciousness, he placed the child in the at midnight, where he found him dead the next morning.

Panya, who police said has a history of drug abuse, has been charged with manslaughter; however, he could face a murder count as the investigation proceeds.

According to the family’s neighbors, Narinrat did not report Panya’s abuse to the police as she depended on him for financial support. It is not yet known whether she would face any criminal charges.

When police arrived Sunday and found Sai-Fah dead in the car, his parents were not cooperative and told the cops the boy preferred to sleep in the car because the house was possessed by ghost. 

Despite the bruises on his body, they further strained credulity by claiming that he loved sleeping in the car every night, and they were not allowed to check on him after 9pm due to their beliefs.

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