Many hundreds of mourners gathered in Thailand’s temples to remember the victims of the country’s worst mass murder, which left 36 people dead.
24 children between the ages of two and five were among those who died in the Thursday massacre at a daycare centre in Uthai Sawan. It is 310 miles (500km), from Bangkok.
The coffins of the victims were transported to the Buddhist sites. They were filled with toys, flowers, and photos of the smiling toddlers. A former police officer then shot and killed them as they were sleeping in a gun-and-knife rampage.
Members of the community who had lost loved ones joined grieving relatives at the Si Uthai temple to light candles and remember those who died.
Two-year-old Pattarawat Jamnongnid was one of the victims. His coffin featured a photo of him wearing a pink American football shirt and a bottle milk.
His mother, Daoreung Jamnongnid (40-year-old factory worker), said that he was her only child. He was lively and talkative.
She said that he was “so smart”, and revealed that he knew the alphabet.
Wat Rat Samakee was another temple where emotions were raw. There were relatives crying and monks in saffron robes singing.
A toy sports car was mounted on a coffin lined with gold-coloured fabric that bears Buddhist symbols.
It was too much. Oy Yodkhao (51), whose four-year old grandson Tawatchai was killed, said, “I can’t accept it.”
Pensiri Thana was the aunt of one victim and had spent the night at the temple.
“It is a tradition to keep our children company. She said that it is their belief that they should be there for them, so they don’t feel alone.
Panya Kamrap (34), a former police officer who was being tried on a drug charge, has been identified by police as the killer of the murder spree.
He then killed his son and wife before taking the gun to himself.
Late Friday night, Thailand’sKing Maha Vajiralongkorn visited the hospital to see the victims of the attack.
He stated, “It’s a tragedy that such an evil thing has occurred.”
“There are no other words that can describe this feeling.
“I want you to have all the moral support that you need to be strong so that those children can feel a sense relief that their families will be strong and able to move on.”