A British teenager is believed to have been murdered in Thailand after going on a motorcycle ride with his girlfriend.
Woramet Ben Taota, a 16-year-old a dual national, was found dead in a forest in his hometown of Lampang province, northern Thailand, with injuries to his head.
His phone and money were missing from his shoulder bag, leading to speculation he had been robbed.
Local police said they received a report on Sunday morning that the teenager had been found dead in a grove in the Ban Than district, with injuries resembling blunt force.
Thai media reported that Woramet’s body was found by a rubbish collector who was working in the area at the time.
Officers found his belongings, including a smartphone charger and his ID card and bank card, but his phone and cash were missing. They suggested he may have been robbed for his smartphone, according to the Sun.
Police also believe he may have been killed elsewhere and dumped at the spot where he was found, slumped against a tree, the Daily Mail reported.
Pictures on social media show Woramet posing next to motorcycle parts. It is understood that he was an avid motocross rider.
Police are now searching for his girlfriend, Yam, also 16, who is thought to have been the last person who saw him alive, and has been missing since Monday.
‘Last person to see him alive’
“The station received a notification at 10:15am that a deceased person was found in the undergrowth,’ said Police Colonel Sittisak Singtongla, superintendent of the Mae Tha Police.
“The investigating team went to the area and found the victim with blood stains all over his face.
“The face and head were found to have been beaten with a hard object until swelling and bruising was caused and there was also a deep wound in his face. The body has been taken to hospital for an autopsy.
“We are currently tracking down individuals close to the victim, including his female companion. She is a key figure in this case since she is the last person to see him alive.”
Police said they are not ruling out any motives for the murder.
“We have not yet finalised the issue,” Police Col Singtongla said.
“It is still unclear whether it was a robbery, because the phone and cash of the deceased were not found, but we still cannot rule out other issues.”
Officers interviewed Woramet’s mother, Ooy Taota, but his British father’s name has not been revealed, according to the Sun.
He said goodbye to her on Saturday evening and said he was “going to work with friends” but said nothing else of his plans.
Police say they are exploring various theories for Woramet’s death, including that he may have been the victim of a love affair or personal dispute.
Lampang is Thailand’s third largest province and is connected by rail to the popular tourist destinations of Bangkok and Chiang Mai – though it is less well known and attracts far fewer visitors. However, its many mountains and dirt roads make it one of the most popular destinations among motorcycle riders in Thailand.