A popular YouTube chef has appeared in court accused of chopping up his boyfriend and dumping his head in the sea on a Thai resort island.
Daniel Sancho Bronchalo, 29, appeared in court on Monday after police arrested him for the brutal death and dismemberment of his lover, Dr. Edwin Arrieta Arteaga, a 44-year old Colombian plastic surgeon.
The pair were on vacation in the southern Thai island of Koh Pha Ngan – famed for its picturesque beaches, laid-back lifestyle and wild “full moon” parties – when an argument over “sex and money” turned deadly, according to local police.
But the officers have said there are signs the grisly crime was premeditated.
“He admitted it,” Panya Niratimanon, the police chief of Koh Pha Ngan, told AFP.
“The victim and the suspect knew each other before they came to Thailand, and his dubious activities indicate that he might murder the victim.”
According to local media reports, Sancho – the son of Spanish actors Rodolfo Sancho Aguirre and Silvia Bronchalo, and a well-known social media chef in his home country – reported his lover missing after attending a full moon party with friends. The pair had known each other for a year.
But on Friday, Sancho was detained shortly after body parts, including hips and thighs, were found by shocked locals at a landfill site on the island.
It has since been alleged that the YouTuber cut Arteaga’s body into 14 pieces, discarding some in the trash dump and using a kayak to cast others out to sea in a suitcase – including the surgeon’s head.
On Sunday, Sancho travelled with police to seven sites where he is accused of ditching the body parts.
Police Major-General Saranyu Chamnanrat told Reuters that DNA tests have proved the remains are Arteaga’s, and that Sancho has been charged with “premeditated murder and secretly moving or destroying a corpse to conceal a death or the cause of death”.
Other media outlets have reported that Sancho had been purchasing knives, plastic bags and cleaning supplies at various convenience stores across Koh Pha Ngan.
On Sunday, Sancho’s family released a statement asking for “maximum respect, both for Daniel Sancho himself and for the whole family, in these delicate moments of maximum confusion”.
Police said the chef was in court on Monday, with police seeking his continued detention as investigations continue.