Cremations readied for Thai day care massacre victims

Oct 9, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: Oct 10, 2022, 6:42 am
Police officers help lay bricks for cremation furnaces on the grounds of Wat Rat Samakee temple in ...

Police officers help lay bricks for cremation furnaces on the grounds of Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Thailand to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

              Police officers help lay bricks for cremation furnaces on the grounds of Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Thailand to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Buddhist monks oversee the making of cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
            
              Buddhist monks oversee the making of cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Locals lay bricks for cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              A police officer helps lay bricks for cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Buddhist monks oversee the making of cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              A volunteer helps lay bricks for cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Recently built cremation furnaces dry at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Recently built cremation furnaces dry at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Police officers help lay bricks for cremation furnaces on the grounds of Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Thailand to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Buddhist monks oversee the making of cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
            
              Buddhist monks oversee the making of cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Locals lay bricks for cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              A police officer helps lay bricks for cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Buddhist monks oversee the making of cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              A volunteer helps lay bricks for cremation furnaces at Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The furnaces were being built Monday to cremate the bodies of the mostly young victims of last week's massacre at a day care center by a former policeman. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather offer food to Buddhist monks for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Photos of victims of a mass killing attack are displayed around coffins inside the Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack eat breakfast after a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              A relative of victims of a mass killing attack walk in front of coffin for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Relatives of the victims of a mass killing attack gather for a Buddhist ceremony Wat Rat Samakee temple in Uthai Sawan, northeastern Thailand, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

UTHAI SAWAN, Thailand (AP) — Makeshift furnaces made of clay bricks were built Monday on the grounds of Buddhist temples in a small town in northeastern Thailand on the eve of the cremation of the young victims of last week’s massacre at a day care center by a former policeman.

Last Thursday’s brutal gun and and knife attack on the Young Children’s Development Center in Uthai Sawan left 36 people dead, including 24 young children. It was the biggest mass killing by an individual in the country’s history.

Phra Kru Adisal Kijjanuwat, abbot of the Rat Samakee temple, around 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the scene of the bloodshed, said 19 victims will be cremated in a group ceremony on Tuesday, bringing an end to a three-day mourning ceremony for the families.

He said the bodies would be cremated at the same time on charcoal-fueled open-air pyres to spare the families from having to wait long hours for successive ceremonies to be completed.

“We only have one furnace at the temple and we wouldn’t be able to cremate all victims at the same time, and I do not wish for any family to have to wait for a lengthy cremation process,” Adisal said.

“After seeing their grief, I thought it would be better if we can hold the ceremony at the same time and that all relatives can go through this final stage of this painful event together,” he said.

The monk said temporary furnaces were also being installed at two other nearby temples that will account for the remaining victims. He said that five families have chosen to host their funeral services separately from the group ones.

Police identified the perpetrator of the massacre as Panya Kamrap, 34, a police sergeant fired earlier this year after being charged with a drug offense.

A clear motive for the killings may never be determined after Panya took his own life, but police say they consider his financial and marital problems, as well as his history of drug use, to be factors.

Panya was cremated Saturday in a neighboring province after temples in Uthai Sawan refused to host his funeral, Thai media reported.

___

Associated Press writer Kaweewit Kaewjinda in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Cremations readied for Thai day care massacre victims