The family of a murdered Welsh backpacker has just seven days in a race against time to find her killer – because police in Thailand will close their investigation in just a week.
Kirsty Jones, 23, was raped and strangled at a guesthouse in northern Thailand in August 2000 while enjoying a gap year after university.
British detectives have recently been to Chiang Mai in Thailand to help in the hunt before the 20-year statute of limitations next Monday -August 10 – meaning the killer will escape justice.
Kirsty’s family in Brecon, mid-Wales, have been told of the August 10 deadline for their investigation to end – but officers are now hoping for one last breakthrough.
A spokeswoman for the Dyfed Powys force said: “Officers have recently been to Thailand and visited the scene in Chiang Mai, they met with the DSI investigation team, pathologist and scientist to obtain information on their investigation, and assist with the forensic examination of exhibits.
“Dyfed-Powys Police is aware of the expiry of the Thai 20 year Statute of Limitations and the investigation continues with this firmly in mind.”
Her family thanked Welsh police for their work – but admit they have lost faith in the Thai detective work.
Her heartbroken mum Sue Jones previously said: “While the Foreign Office was helpful to start with, they have not been there in recent years. We know that it is unlikely that much will change between now and August or that anyone will come forward.
“I have very mixed feelings. I just hope we did everything that we could for Kirsty, and that after 20 years she will be able to rest in peace.”
Farmer’s daughter Kirsty grew up in the village of Tredomen near Brecon.
But she dreamed of seeing the world and had decided from the age of 14 that she had wanted to take a gap year before going on to university.
In 1996 when she set off for Australia and stopped off in Thailand on her way home.
After a safe and successful trip, the bright A-level student had fallen in love with travelling.
She completed an English and media studies degree at Liverpool University in 1999 – then spent a year doing odd jobs to fund her next big trip.
She had planned a two-year global adventure taking in Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand before finishing in South America.
Her family said they felt no reason to worry second time around as Ms Jones was older, wiser and more experienced.
Kirsty headed 435 miles north of Bangkok to the well-known trekking hub Chiang Mai – going on jungle hikes, riding elephants and visiting hill tribes.
But a month later the dream was shattered when her parents were given the devastating news that their daughter had been raped and strangled to death on August 10, 2000.
Despite a series of arrests, no-one has faced justice for her murder.
Sue has since travelled to Thailand twice – one with officers from Dyfed Powys Police – and even offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to a successful prosecution.
Sue thanked UK police for not giving up and following any potential leads but says the trail has one again gone cold.
A spokeswoman for Dyfed Powys Police said: “Dyfed-Powys Police continues to support the family and liaise with the Thai Authorities in the investigation into the murder of Kirsty Jones.”
“The primacy for the investigation rests with the Department of Specialist Investigations (DSI) in Thailand and Dyfed-Powys Police is committed to supporting the progression of this investigation.”