Emerging from the shadows of the internet, noted internet whistleblower Guntouch Pongpaiboonwet played an instrumental role in the recent discovery and rescue of a missing 12-year-old girl. The girl’s disturbing disappearance led to a collaboration with the police in Rayong to ascertain the young girl’s whereabouts.
The girl’s alarmed mother had reached out to Guntouch Pongpaiboonwet as she was plagued with worry that her young daughter could be the latest victim of human trafficking or sexual predation. While the mother’s identity has been kept confidential, we know that she has filed a legal complaint with the Bang Na police. This grievance targets the man her daughter met online, suspected to be behind her disappearance. The mother discovered a series of unsettling chats between the suspect and her daughter on her mobile. These conversations revealed an online relationship that had matured over three to four months, leading to the suspect urging the young girl to meet him in person.
Breathing life into the mother’s worst fears was CCTV footage indentifying her daughter, entreaties to a local apartment owner for a ride to the Ekamai Bus Terminal. The apartment owner was advised that she was off to visit relatives in Rayong. To add to her mother’s spiraling panic, the girl had abandoned her mobile at their apartment, rendering any digital assistance impossible.
The narrative took another shocking twist when out of the blue one Friday morning, the suspect’s mother reached out to the distressed mother. She tried to broker silence with money for the traumatizing event. According to Guntouch, ironically while the suspect’s mother vehemently pleaded ignorance about her son’s whereabouts and actions, she inadvertently dropped a bombshell that her son and the missing girl had been at the hotel.
The police reacted promptly to Guntouch’s findings and the mother’s complaint and took the suspect in for questioning. The Bang Na police, in consultation with legal experts, are currently detailing initial charges against the suspect, which would be child abduction. An investigation with a team of specialists is in progress to gain a full understanding of the girl’s experience. All these components illustrate how digital detectives work in the twenty-first century, leveraging the internet to unmask those exploiting the innocence and gullibility of the underaged.