Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said he has ordered police to separate their work into two cases to spare them the pressure of quickly solving the investigation.
According to Lt Gen Sanit, the law allows suspects in the passport forgery case to be detained for 48 days while suspects in the murder case can be held for up to 84 days. Police are still gathering evidence to determine whether three foreign suspects held in the fake passport operation have something to do with the victim’s death.
Identified as Herbert Craig La Fon, James Douglas Eger and Aaron Thomas Gabel, all US nationals, the trio was apprehended on Sept 23 when police raided a five-storey building on Sukhumvit Soi 56 following a tip-off the premises were being used by a passport forgery gang.
As police searched for evidence, they found the dismembered body of a foreign male in a large freezer. The corpse was identified as that of Charles Edward Ditlefsen, a US national. The three men were charged with multiple offences including resisting arrest, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, forging official documents and concealing a corpse.
Lt Gen Sanit conceded while there is significant progress in the investigation into the dismembered body, it is hard to tell when the probe will be concluded.
He said police have contacted the victim’s family and asked them to travel to Thailand to provide information. The city police chief, however, declined to discuss the result of a toxicology test on the corpse, saying he has yet to receive a report from forensic experts.
On Saturday (Sept 8), Udomsak Hoonwijit, head of forensic medicine at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, disclosed that sodium thiopental was discovered in the victim’s liver. The drug is normally used to induce unconsciousness by anaesthesiologists.
According to Dr Udomsak, the findings will be handed over to police this week and they were informed about the chemicals found in the dismembered body.
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