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Superstition was at play in the abduction of a toddler girl, if you believe her suspected kidnapper’s explanation that he abducted her to make a “sacrifice” to nature spirits.

Three days after a 23-month-old girl known as Gina disappeared inexplicably from her family home, she was found safe and sound inside a remote hut in Chiang Mai’s Mae Tang district. The missing child drew national interest as every parent’s worst nightmare, as did her apparent abductor’s bizarre justification.

The suspect, a 44-year-old Myanmar national only identified publicly as Siew, told police that he kidnapped Gina and took her to a cave as a “sacrifice” to the spirits of the forest and mountains. He denied hurting the girl.

The Mirror Foundation, a non-governmental organization that helps coordinate searches for missing persons, rejected Siew’s explanation.The foundation said there are many things that need to be uncovered and said child kidnappers tend to abduct minors for sex crimes or human trafficking. 

Siew is in police custody. He has not been charged yet, Weerachon Boontawee, chief of Provincial Police Region 5’s Detective Department, said this morning. Weerachon said more investigation was needed to gather more evidence.

Boonpiphop Kongkham, one of the girl’s rescuers, told Thai PBS he did not believe that Gina had been at the hut all three days since he and his team searched it at 11am on Tuesday. 

Gina went missing from her family home Monday evening. Her disappearance saw dozens of officers, drones and sniffer dogs deployed in search. She was found alive on Wednesday near a cave only a few kilometers from her house.

Read more Coconuts Bangkok stories here.

This article, Kidnapper’s story about sacrificing Thai toddler to spirits met with doubt, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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