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74 Year-old German Murder Suspect Arrested in Chiang Rai After 9 Years on the Run in Thailand

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CHIANG RAI – Heinz Jurgen Theil, 74, a German murder suspect has been arrested for stabbing to death a 17-year-old Thai wife at a rented house in Chiang Rai province after nine years on the run.

Theil, wanted on an arrest warrant issued by Chiang Rai provincial court on murder charges, was apprehended in front of a clinic in tambon Robwiang of Muang district, said Pol Maj Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, Crime Suppression Division chief, during a media briefing on Tuesday.

The German national had been charged with stabbing to death his wife Janjira Janthapool, 17, at his rented house in Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai, on April 4, 2010.

The teenage girl had more than 20 stab wounds to her face, neck, chest, arms and hands.

According to police, the suspect had been in Thailand for more than 20 years and had a Thai wife and one daughter. After his wife died, he was romantically involved with Janjira, then 14, who was his daughter’s friend.

He then took the teenage girl and her disabled father to stay with him at his house for more than three years.

He told police that he and Janjira frequently quarreled. Before the murder, they fought and he allegedly used a knife to stab her to death inside their room. After that, he told his daughter and Janjira’s father and asked the pair to take him to Mae Chan police.

Later, police took him to the Chiang Rai court for detention. He was released on 400,000-baht bail. But as the ruling date neared, he feared he might end up in jail for many years and decided to run, the suspect allegedly said.

Over the past years, he had fled to several provinces in the North before returning to Chiang Rai province, where he was later caught by CSD police, said Pol Maj Gen Jirabhop.

The suspect would be sent to the Chiang Rai provincial court.