Thai woman fulfills promise to massacred granddaughter

STORY: Thai grandmother, Saowanee Donchot, is travelling with family on their first family trip out to sea.

But what should be a happy occasion is shrouded in loss.

They’re bringing along the ashes of her four-year-old grandchild, Pattanan Mumklaing, nicknamed “Model”.

"During the harvest season earlier, we promised to bring her to see the beach, to play in the sea. But she didn't live to do that."

Model was killed on October 6, along with 22 other children, while she was at nursery school in the town of Nong Bua Lamphu, northern Thailand.

A former police officer went on a knife and gun rampage that day, killing a total of 36 people.

The ordeal ended when 34-year-old Panya Khamrap shot dead his partner and her son, then turned his gun on himself.

"The last image of her was when she got down from the car and waved goodbye to me. I told her I will come and pick her up. She replied, ok, bring the car. Those were our last words.'"

Saowanee adopted Model when she was just eight-months-old.

Model’s mother gave birth to her while in prison for drug charges.

And her father was also behind bars.

Nong Bua Lamphu is a picturesque but impoverished part of Thailand’s remote northeast, where methamphetamine is cheap and everywhere.

Residents say many there struggle with addiction.

The ex-policeman who went on the killing spree had lost his job earlier in the year over drug issues.

He had admitted to using two types of meth, police said.

The massacre left the tight-knit rural community, including Model’s family, reeling with grief.

"I told myself, I need to be strong. But also, thinking of how can I move on? What's the purpose of living? Who am I living for? I've never thought of ending my life. I'm still figuring out how I should continue to live."

Saowanee can only hope the trip out to sea can give her some closure, as she finally fulfils her promise to Model, to take her floating on the waves.

"I am lost for words... I have brought you here, although in ashes."