Frenchman one of main suspects in murder of elderly Italian man in Thailand
Police are tracking down a Thai woman and a Frenchman who are suspects for the murder of an elderly Italian man, whose burned body was found in a jungle in rural Phichit province on Friday.
Today police have confirmed that the body, bearing a leg tattoo, found near Thap Chan pond belonged to a 61-year-old Italian man named Giuseppe De Stefani, and the murder suspects are his Thai girlfriend Rujira Iam-lamai, 38, and her French lover named Amaury (translated from Thai media).
The pair had reportedly fled in a Toyota Yaris, Thai Post reported.
De Stefani’s body was discovered on Friday morning, after locals saw smoke rising from the jungle. The man’s body had been burned with a car tire used as fuel.
Police searched the home of Rujira in Bueng Narang District, where she lives with her two children from a Thai ex-husband, and found De Stefani’s passport hidden in the ceiling. They also found a letter they believe was written by the Italian man. It was translated into Thai as, “You said you loved me because you only wanted money. I’ve never met anyone as bad as you.”
Around the house, authorities also found traces of blood, car tires, and charcoal possibly used to start a fire. Police have collected the forensic evidence.
Locals in the area said Rujira had two foreign boyfriends, the victim and the Frenchman. Witnesses said they frequently saw Rujira fighting with De Stefani.
Police suspected there may have been at least five people responsible for the murder based on evidence collected from CCTV.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Thawatchai Muannara, commander of Phichit police, said that the motive could be a love triangle. No arrest warrants have been issued yet for Rujira or the Frenchman and the investigation is ongoing. They expect to be able to track them down for questioning within seven days, Thairath reported.