Background of the Case
On August 16, 2023, the Thai police declared the closure of their investigation into the murder of a Colombian plastic surgeon on Koh Phangan. The case involved a gruesome act of dismemberment, allegedly committed by the victim’s partner, and gained significant media attention. A majority of the victim’s body still remains missing.
The Victim and The Suspect
The victim, Edwin Arrieta Arteaga, was a 44-year-old plastic surgeon from Colombia. He was allegedly murdered on August 1 by his boyfriend, Daniel Sancho Bronchalo, aged 29. Mr. Sancho is a well-known YouTube chef and the son of renowned Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho Aguirre and actress Silvia Bronchalo.
The Timeline of Events
According to the Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, Mr. Sancho arrived in Thailand on July 31, a day before Mr. Arrieta. The two had planned to meet on Koh Phangan on August 2. To accommodate their stay, Mr. Arrieta booked a hotel room for both of them. However, Mr. Sancho had also booked another room at a different hotel, where he later allegedly committed the murder.
The Grisly Discovery
Police believe Mr. Sancho dismembered Mr. Arrieta’s body into 17 parts. Some of these parts were stuffed into a duffel bag and thrown into the sea, while the rest were allegedly placed in a trash bag and disposed of at the tambon Koh Phangan Municipal Solid Waste Management Centre. Local trash pickers found these remains on August 3.
Evidence of Premeditation
Investigators have reason to believe that the crime was premeditated. They found that Mr. Sancho had purchased a long knife, plastic bags, cleaning solutions, and rubber gloves on August 1. Moreover, during their search of the hotel room, they discovered bloodstains, human tissue, grease marks, and hair.
Charges and Legal Proceedings
Mr. Sancho has admitted to the charges of premeditated murder, as well as concealing and/or removing body parts to cover up a death or cause of death. The case is now closed after two weeks of intensive investigation by the Thai police.
Next Steps for the Victim’s Family
The Royal Thai Police have stated that they will request the Colombian embassy to contact Mr. Arrieta’s family so they can claim his remains and provide closure for the family during this difficult time.