Tug-Of-War erupts over murder victim's son

Family members of a woman accused of murdering a South African businessman are fighting to gain custody of the dead man's three-year-old son.

GRIEVING: Hercules Duvel speaks at a press conference in Bangkok yesterday to defend his elder brother, Oswald Heinrich Duvel, who was found shot dead in Saraburi on Sept 30.

Police on Friday arrested Kacharin Duvel _ the boy's mother _ and her half-brother, Surasith Panchathepmnkol, for the murder of Oswald Heinrich Duvel.

Police said Duvel was in a bitter legal dispute with his wife, Kacharin at the time of his death.

They said the custody row may have been Kacharin's motive for the murder.

Police said it is not known where the boy is now but a source said he was most likely staying with one of Ms Kacharin's family members.

Police said Oswald Duvel was shot in the back of the head when he was lured into a vehicle. His body, clad only in his underwear, was found on the roadside in Saraburi last Sunday.

Police said Karachin's mother, Woraporn Panchathepmongkol, had also been detained over the murder, but is expected to turn state witness.

The brother of the dead man, Hercules Duvel, 49, said he and his family's primary concern was the boy's safety.

"We don't know where he is _ even the police don't know," Mr Duvel said. "We are seeking court advice for a child adoption plan."

The Duvel family visited Thailand yesterday to collect Oswald Duvel's body for a cremation ceremony.

Mr Duvel yesterday held a press conference in a bid to clear allegations made by his brother's wife that Oswald Duvel had mistreated the child.

"The allegation is ridiculous," he said said. "He has no chance to defend himself.

"He loved his son and would have laid down his life for his son. He had never raised his voice to him. He would in no way harm the child."

He said his brother had taken care of his wife's family after they were divorced.

Mr Duvel said he and his family hoped to see the boy before leaving Thailand.

He said his brother was his hero who protected him since they were young. "The unexpected death has been a big loss to the family.

"We are all heartbroken and shocked. Oswald, we cannot put in words the sorrow we feel. I wish you could be here today."

Mr Duvel praised police for the swift arrests in the case and said he was placing his hope that the justice system in Thailand will bring a fair trial for his brother.

About the author

Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
Position: Reporter