Police in Chiang Mai is not as sure as they initially were when on Tuesday 3 October 2023 they told local media that they suspected a 58 year old Norwegian man was the person who had committed the murder of a 39 year old Thai man in Chiang Mai. The deceased man was identified as Mr. Chalit or Eddie by friends. Police had on 3 October 2023 found him with his throat slit in the kitchen of a house outside Chiang Mai where he and the Norwegian had been living for more than a year.
ScandAsia visited the house and the police station in Chiang Mai to get more details of what happened and see what evidence the police had collected against the Norwegian man who has from the beginning resisted attempts to make him confess to the murder.
Pol. Col. Phuwanat Duangdee, who is leading the investigation, was not available for comments, but an assistant informed ScandAsia that they now had to go meticulously through all the details from the crime scene and piece together these findings with the forensic report to see if there was any evidence that conclusively proved if the murder was committed by the Norwegian.
“We will call for a briefing when we are ready,” the assistant said. He confirmed that the case was complicated because the Norwegian embassy was involved and because the suspect denied and the evidence was not yet conclusive enough. While this was in progress, the Norwegian was released from police custody, supposedly on bail.
“But they were the only two persons in the house,” he added when asked if there was any evidence that there had been a third person in the house, which is what the Norwegian had initially told the police when they arrived at the scene.
ScandAsia then talked to the village headman of Ban Wang Sing Kham, Mr. Sompong Wongri, who lives opposite the modern house where the killing took place. He confirmed his statement given already on the night of the crime.
Mr. Sompong had that evening been alerted by another resident who had noticed the Norwegian crawling back and forth on the terrasse in front of the house seemingly in distress. Because of his illness, he was not able to walk. The Norwegian had told him to go look in the kitchen. Here he had found the dead body and immediately alerted the village headman.
The neighbor told the village headman that the foreigner had explained to him that he had been on the toilet. When he came out he had seen Mr. Chalit on the floor. He had also said something about another man who was not there when the neighbor came into the house.
Mr. Sompong Wongri told local media on the evening itself that he had entered the house and found that the deceased was lying in a pool of blood. He didn’t know what had happened, but he saw a knife on the floor so he hurriedly notified the police.
ScandAsia talked to the police officer manning the local police box who confirmed he had received Mr. Sompong’s call, but because he was away on duty elsewhere, he had asked Mr. Sompong to call the alarm central via 911.
The police received the alert at 7:30 PM that there had been an assault causing death on the address 11/6 Moo 6, Wang Sing Kham, Soi 17, Pa Daet District. Shortly after, Pol. Col. Phuwanat Duangdee went with a team to investigate the crime. At this point, the house was sealed so no more outsiders could enter the house
The Superintendent told local media that he found the dead Mr. Chalit lying face down in a pool of blood in the kitchen wearing a pair of shorts. They had also found the foreigner in the house but he denied killing the victim. The Norwegian had explained that he was suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and had no strength to attack his partner. He had suggested that his partner was killed by an attacker who fled the scene. He later suggested it could be a suicide.
Police investigators doubted his claims and gathered scientific evidence at the scene and studied feeds from a security camera in the house before they obtained an arrest warrant for the Norwegian.
Near the body, there was a blood-stained machete knife and two more kitchen knives were on the floor as well. According to local media reports, when the forensic officer turned the body over a large wound was found on his throat, a wound that had been cut with a sharp knife. It was concluded that the slash had been diagonally from the right side of the neck to the left side. The direction could prove important when trying to re-enact the murser. The wound was so deep that the windpipe could be seen. As for other wounds, none were found.
Conflicting media reports mention signs of a struggle while others say there were no such signs. Neighbors also gave conflicting reports to the media with some saying the couple had been fighting often. The village headman, however, said the couple had been living in the house for about a year, frequently having friends visit them, but there had never been any problems.
A Medical Doctor on duty at Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital had been called in to examine the dead man and the scene. ScandAsia went to the hospital but was not able to talk to this doctor without prior permission from the hospital administration.
The assistant to Pol. Col. Duangdee, whom ScandAsia talked to, said that the Norwegian had been provided with an interpreter after he was brought to the police station.
Visiting the house, Scandasia found no signs that the Norwegian man was living there after his release from custody. On the gate, a flower garland had been placed and a candle had been lit for the deceased. A black pickup truck that the neighbor had not seen before, was parked by the side of the house. On the inside of the wall, some laundry, bedlinen and floor mats were hung up to dry.
The sister of the Norwegian will allegedly travel to Thailand from Norway to help her brother.