Two Americans Stole Body Parts From A Thai Museum And Tried To Ship Them To Vegas
Two American men are accused of attempting to ship stolen body parts—including the preserved head of an infant—to Las Vegas from Bangkok. Ryan Edward McPherson and Daniel Jamon Tanner allegedly stole several body parts from the Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital, Thai authorities said. This included a baby's head, a baby's left foot sliced into three separate parts, an adult heart and adult skin, according to KTLA. The skin was in two pieces, one with a tattoo of a tiger and the other with a tattoo of a symbol, the Bangkok Post reports.
McPherson and Tanner attempted to ship the parts to Las Vegas in plastic boxes, but the shipment was halted in Pathum Thani by DHL workers who became suspicious during a scan of the packages and discovered the body parts, then called the police.
Initially, McPherson and Tanner told Thai police they'd bought the body parts at a flea market for $100, but couldn't seem to remember where exactly the flea market was. They also told police they bought the body parts because wanted to surprise friends back home with their grisly purchases. Police were unable to press charges at the time, so let the men go.
However, McPherson and Tanner were later identified in security footage from the museum. By then, the pair had left Thailand for Cambodia, so Thai police will have to try to get the men extradited if their arrest warrant is approved. If the warrant is approved and the men are extradited, Thai police will charge them with theft from a government hospital.
Oddly enough, the body parts of babies are not entirely uncommon on the Thai black market because some believe that infant parts have special properties when used in black magic. In particular, there is a belief that an infant fetus—called a kuman thong—can offer extraordinary protection to its owner.
These kuman thong are typically figures that look like babies covered in gold leaf—kuman thong means 'golden boy' in Thai. It comes from a 19th century occult legend in which a solider has a falling out with his wife's father, and so cuts his unborn baby from her body, then roasted the fetus while chanting. When the ritual is complete, the child becomes a ghost that offers protection to his father.
Using a real fetus to make a kuman thong is illegal, but there's a market for it. In May of 2012, authorities discovered a 28-year-old British man who had purchased six roasted human fetuses covered in gold with the intention of selling them for a hefty sum as good luck charms in Taiwan, IB Times reports.