Rescue workers wrap the body of the 9-year-old boy found buried at the foot of a near hill in Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan, on Wednesday. The boy had been missing since Sunday. (Photo supplied)
PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: A 38-year-old man arrested for shooting a 9-year-old boy out of a tree and then burying the body has told police he mistook the child for a squirrel.
Police from Ban Nong Phlab in Hua Hin district said Pramook Khosin, of Moo 11 village in tambon Bueng Nakhon of Hua Hin, was arrested about 10pm on Wednesday on a charge of murder.
The suspect told police that on Sunday he took a .22 rifle into a local forest to hunt birds and squirrels for a meal.
He had noticed some movement in a tree but could not see what it was. Assuming it was a bird or squirrel, he fired a shot - and was shocked on seeing a boy fall to the ground.
The boy died, so he returned home to get a shovel and then buried the body at the foot of a local hill.
Then he went to work at an ice wholesale shop in nearby Pran Buri district.
Moo 11 village head Sawat Chuyim said the boy was Chalermchai Jipatha. His parents told him their child went missing on Sunday and the whole family had searched for him in vain.
On Wednesday morning, the missing boy's younger sibling told his parents he had dreamed of Chalermchai meeting him and pointing to a hill. When they went to look the parents found a pile of loose soil and rocks, and local people later dug up the body. There was a bullet hole at the waistline.
The village head said Chalermchai was a happy, hard-working boy who boxed in the Muay Thai ring and gave his earnings to his poor parents, who had five children to support.