SURAT THANI: A Spanish chef has admitted to killing his Colombian surgeon lover and dismembering his body before dumping parts in a landfill on Koh Phangan and his head and other parts in the sea, police say.
Daniel Sancho Bronchalo, 29, was taken to the Koh Phangan police station on Friday for questioning in connection with the disappearance of Edwin Arrieta Arteaga, 44, a Colombian national. He initially denied any involvement but eventually admitted to the act after intensive questioning by police, said a source familiar with the investigation.
The suspect is the son of the Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho Aguirre and actress Silvia Bronchalo. A well-known chef in his home country, he also has a YouTube channel. The victim operated a successful plastic surgery clinic in Monteria, Colombia.
Police found more evidence believed to be human body parts after searching a hotel room believed to be the place where the killing took place, Pol Lt Gen Surapong Thanomjit, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 8, said on Saturday.
Forensic officers collected samples of hair, fat and tissue from the room’s drain and sent them for forensic testing in Yala. The results would be known on Sunday, said Pol Lt Gen Surapong.
A police examination of security video from various places on the island famed for its Full Moon parties showed Mr Sancho was linked to the case, the commander said.
The Spanish man was the last person seen with the victim before the human body parts were found. Officers were gathering evidence to seek a court warrant for the arrest of Mr Sancho, said Pol Lt Gen Surapong.
Mr Sancho had gone to the Koh Phangan police station on Thursday night to report that Mr Arrieta was missing. This came after news spread that some human body parts had been found.
Trash collectors on Thursday discovered body parts, including a sawed-off pelvis and intestines weighing around five kilogrammes, inside a fertiliser sack at a garbage dump in Moo 4 of Koh Phangan.
More body parts were found on Friday in a black plastic bag at the same location. The bag contained two legs, a black T-shirt, a pair of shorts and a pair of red boxer shorts. (Story continues below)
The suspect: Spanish chef Daniel Sancho Bronchalo, 29. (Photo: danisanchobanus Instagram)
The victim: Colombian plastic surgeon Edwin Arrieta Arteaga, 44. (Photo: dredwinarrietacirujanoplastico Instagram)
Pol Lt Gen Surapong said relatives of Arrieta told investigators that he had been in a relationship with Mr Sancho for more than one year.
The pair had gone to Koh Phangan in Surat Thani to attend a Full Moon party. When Arrieta’s relatives were unable to contact him, they contacted Mr Sancho but the Spanish man said he hadn’t seen him yet.
The relatives then contacted the tourist police to inspect the hotel room the victim had booked, but there were no traces of him. They later learned that Mr Sancho had checked in at the hotel alone and later checked out before the victim arrived.
“We do not yet know the motive for the murder. We initially believe it might stem from a fit of jealousy,” said Pol Lt Gen Surapong.
“The investigation found that Daniel Sancho had prepared thoroughly by buying other items for concealing the body. After being detained for immigration offences and having his visa revoked, he showed clear signs of stress, but still refused to confess.
“I have instructed police to closely monitor him for fear that he might resort to commit suicide.”
Pol Col Panya Nirattimanon, chief of the Koh Phangan police station, said on Saturday that Mr Sancho looked stressed and did not sleep after he was taken on Friday for questioning in connection with the disappearance of the Colombian national.
A police source said that during questioning, Mr Sancho told investigators that he had taken Arrieta to his room. He claimed the man wanted to have sex with him, but he refused.
In a fit of anger, he punched his friend, causing the victim to fall and lose consciousness after hitting his head on a bathtub. Mr Sancho subsequently decided to cut the body into 14 pieces and put some parts into a travel bag. He also put some parts into plastic bags and dumped them in a garbage bin.
He took the travel bag to dump in the sea at Salad beach near his hotel. After that he returned to his room and checked out at 9am on Thursday.
He later went to a Full Moon party with two women he knew at the hotel. After returning from the party, he went to the police station where he filed a missing person report that his Colombian friend had disappeared.