Strangely, the boy’s mobile phone had been wiped clean by the time it was returned to his family along with his personal belongings.
So there were no enlightening final texts. No phone records, videos or pictures.
Not a solitary clue as to why this promising 17-year-old footballer had taken his life in his dormitory at a Leicestershire football academy just five years after being delivered from a flooded mountain cave in Thailand — an audacious rescue operation watched with awe and trepidation by millions around the world.
An inquest into the death of Duangphet ‘Dom’ Phromthep — not attended by his family or friends, nor any members of the Press — shed no further light on the mystery, either.
In a statement last month, Leicester coroner Professor Catherine Mason said that the boy who miraculously survived for two hellish weeks in that cave, along with 11 teammates and his coach, had been found unconscious at Brooke House College, in Market Harborough, on February 12. Though attempts were made to resuscitate him, he had died in hospital two days later. She gave the cause of his injury, which the Mail has chosen not to report.
The coroner added: ‘Mr Phromthep was not known to mental health services, and it is not known why he took the actions that he did. It could not have been foreseen or prevented. The police have found no evidence of third party involvement or suspicious circumstances.’
The college was equally circumspect, choosing not to explain — if, indeed, they had any answers — why he might have sunk into despair, just five months after embarking on the English soccer scholarship that was the stuff of his dreams.
In his statement, principal Ian Smith said he would not discuss the incident publicly ‘out of respect for Dom and his family’s wishes’. He highlighted the ‘high quality of our student care, welfare and safeguarding’, reiterating that the suicide had been unavoidable.
Yet surely this poignant story ought not to just quietly slip away? There must be some explanation for the lonely suicide of a young man whose smiling face, caught in the light of a rescuer’s torch, touched the hearts of millions back in the summer of 2018. A teenager whose against-all-odds deliverance restored our belief in the indomitability of the human spirit.
This week, speaking to those closest to Dom in Thailand and Britain, I went in search of the answer. Perhaps the most obvious possibility is that he was for ever traumatised by experiences in that dank, echoing cave.
Trapped for a fortnight by the rising floodwater, when he and his friends quickly ran out of food, they survived by licking the water drops from stalactites. This week, expert cave rescuer Rick Stanton, the former Coventry firefighter who carried Dom to safety (and received the George Medal for his gallantry) gave me an insight into the heart-stopping mission that freed them.