Giuseppe de Stefani, 61, was believed to have been killed by his girlfriend, Rujira Klaylamai, 38, and Amuary Rigaud, 33, her French boyfriend, said Thawatchai Muannara, chief of the Phichit provincial police.
The hunt was launched after the dismembered torso of a man believed to be a foreigner was discovered in a forest near Bueang Thap Chan, a freshwater pond in Bung Na Rang district of the northern province of Pichit.
Two arms and a right leg bearing a tattoo were also retrieved from the scene.
Mr De Stefani’s identity was later confirmed by Rujira’s daughter after she recognised the tattoo, police said.
A primary probe found Rujira also has an estranged Thai husband. She was reportedly involved in a love triangle with Mr de Stefani and Amuary, but was living with Amuary at a house in the area.
Rujira has two children with her former husband, who she never officially divorced.
While seeking more evidence in the tambon, police were tipped off by local residents about a Thai woman and a foreign man who they suspected may have been involved in the affair.
Police drove by their house and saw Rujira and Amuary washing their car, a bronze Toyota Yaris with a Samut Songkhram licence plate.
Their suspicions of foul play grew stronger after neighbours said the couple had spent an unusually long time washing the car.
Maj Gen Thawatchai said the couple fled using the same car as a getaway vehicle. Investigators searched the house and found a letter from Mr de Stefani addressed to Rujira. It read: “You told me that you loved me only because you wanted money. I have never met a bad person like you before.”
Police also found charcoal and firewood at the house.
Maj Gen Thawatchai said more people may have colluded in the murder as CCTV footage showed other vehicles leaving the scene.
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