A YouTube chef from Madrid has been arrested in Thailand after he allegedly admitted to butchering a Colombian surgeon and scattering his remains on a tourist island, police said.
Daniel Sancho Bronchalo – the son of Spanish movie stars Rodolfo Sancho and Silvia Bronchalo — was charged with premeditated murder and concealment of a body in the grisly killing of 44-year-old Edwin Arrieta Arteaga.
The deceased man’s remains were found in plastic bags and luggage scattered around Koh Phagnan – an island renowned for hosting monthly “full moon parties.”
Police said Sancho, 29, reported Arrieta missing last week after the human remains were found. The YouTube chef was later detained in connection with the killing.
Sancho later confessed to killing Arrieta – but he denied that it was premeditated.
According to his confession made Saturday, the trouble started when an “obsessed” Arrieta went to Sancho’s hotel room on August 1 and asked to have sex with him, reported El Pais.
Sancho told detectives that he rebuffed the older man’s advances, and in a fit of rage pushed Arrieta, who fell and apparently fatally hit his head on the bathtub.
The 29-year-old Spaniard then allegedly decided to get rid of the surgeon’s body by chopping it up in his hotel room and dumping the body parts at different spots across the island.
However, 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.
After completing his gruesome task, Sancho bought a kayak for $1,000, took it out to sea and allegedly dumped a suitcase containing some of Arrieta’s remains into the water.
Two days later, after Sancho had checked out of his hotel room, a garbage collector working at a landfill on the island discovered a bag containing a man’s pelvis and human intestines.
A subsequent search of the dumping ground turned up another bag with human legs and some items of clothing.
The police said DNA tests of the remains confirmed they belonged to Arrieta, adding they have other evidence against Sancho, including blood, hair and fat recovered from the drain in the bathroom of his otherwise spotlessly clean hotel room.
The night the remains were recovered, Sancho headed to a “full moon party” with two women he met on the island.
It was not until after he returned from the celebration and saw news reports about Arrieta’s murder that he reported the Colombian national as missing, but falsely claimed that he arrived on the island only the day before, August 2. By then, the victim had been dead for more than 24 hours.
Security footage broadcast by Thai media showed Sancho and Arrieta riding a motorbike together in the days before the murder.
Police said that the pair had dinner at a restaurant on August 1. Just hours later, Sancho was caught on video buying knives and cleaning supplies at a store.
When asked about a motive, Surat Thani provincial police commander Saranyu Chamnanrat said it was likely due to a personal relationship between the suspect and the victim.
There have been conflicting reports in the media about the nature of Sancho and Arrieta’s relationship, with some Thai outlets citing police sources as saying that the Spanish chef told them that he and the surgeon had been dating, and that he unsuccessfully tried to break up with the 44-year-old.
But in comments to the news outlet EFE, Sancho denied being romantically involved with Arrieta.
“He was obsessed with me. He deceived me, he made me believe that what he wanted was to do business with me, to put money into the company in which I am a partner,” Sancho said. “But it was all lies. The only thing he wanted was me, for me to be his boyfriend.”
The suspect further claimed that the Colombian surgeon would threaten him every time he tried to get away from him.
On Sunday, Sancho led police to seven sites, including a beach where he was accused of dumping plastic bags containing Arrieta’s body parts.
The 29-year-old appeared in court Monday as police requested his continued detention for investigation.
Sancho’s uncle, Felix Sancho, told journalists in Spain that “a little respect for the family is all we ask for, because this is so painful.”
With Post wires