BANGKOK (AP) — The son of two Spanish film stars has been arrested in Thailand on suspicion of murdering and dismembering a Colombian surgeon on a tourist island, police said.
Daniel Sancho Bronchalo was taken from Koh Phagnan, where the remains of Edwin Arrieta Arteaga were found, to another island, Samui, where he is being held, Surat Thani provincial police commander Saranyu Chamnanrat said Tuesday.
Sancho, a chef with a YouTube channel, has been charged with premeditated murder, which carries a possible death penalty, and with concealment of a body to cover up the death, Saranyu said.
Details of the killing emerged last week when Thai media reported that plastic bags containing the body parts of a man, later identified by police as Arrieta, were found at a landfill on Koh Phagnan, an island famous for its monthly “full moon parties.”
Police said Sancho came in to report a missing person after the body parts were found and was subsequently detained. He later confessed to killing and dismembering Arrieta and then dumping the body parts in the landfill and the sea, although he denied that it was premeditated, police said. His arrest warrant was issued by the Koh Samui Provincial Court on Saturday.
Saranyu declined to elaborate when asked about the motive but said it was likely due to a personal relationship between the suspect and the victim. Thai media have cited police as saying that Sancho, who came to Thailand for a holiday, told the authorities that the two had a romantic relationship and that he tried to break up with the victim but the victim refused.
Security camera video broadcast by Thai media reportedly taken a day before the body parts were found showed Sancho and Arrieta on a motorbike together.
Regional police chief Surapong Thanomchit told public broadcaster Thai PBS that Sancho was seen buying a knife, garbage bags, and cleaning solutions before Arrieta’s death.
Media reports say Sancho is the son of Rodolfo Sancho and Silvia Bronchalo, famous Spanish actors. Sancho’s uncle, Felix Sancho, told journalists in Spain, “A little respect for the family is all we ask for because this is so painful.”
The Spanish Embassy in Bangkok said it was aware of a crime involving a Spanish man but declined to give further information because of data protection legislation.
Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a statement on its website Sunday thanking the Thai police for their investigation and said it is providing assistance to the family of the victim.
By YUCHENG TANG AND JINTAMAS SAKSORNCHAI Associated Press