Summary 2023: Daniel Sancho, the terrifying event that shook Spain and Colombia from Thailand

Saturday, August 5, promised to be just another day of a particularly hot summer, but news from the other side of the world chilled our blood: the actor's son Rodolfo Sancho, Daniel (as a result of his relationship with Silvia Bronchalo), had been arrested for the murder and dismemberment of the Colombian surgeon Edwin Arrieta. And it's not just that there was evidence that pointed to the young man: it's that he himself confessed after going to the police station to report the disappearance.

From that day on, the tsunami of information surrounding the case has been unstoppable. Not only because of the interest of the Spanish press in clarifying what happened but also because of the multiple leaks that the Thai police carried out from day one. The information that came in was terrifying and also somewhat confusing: according to Daniel's story, Edwin wanted to have sexual relations and he refused, which led to a fight and subsequent struggle in which Arrieta hit his head against the sink. The Spaniard, a chef by profession, got scared and dismembered the body into 14 pieces, later distributing them throughout the island on a rented motorcycle and at sea with a kayak that he bought in desperation.

The reconstruction of the crime

The police promised Daniel leniency if he cooperated, they even took him to dinner at a luxurious restaurant in Koh Panghan and gave him access to a mobile phone, from which he contacted the media and family: “I messed up. I had no other option. I'm sorry you're going through this.”wrote.

He, without an official translator or defense lawyer, accompanied them to the scene of the crime and explained to them in detail everything that had happened. The images were released, as well as the summary of the case and several of the pieces of evidence in a press conference led by Big Joke, the number two in the Thai police. The conclusion was clear: it was a premeditated murder, since Daniel had bought knives, bags and tape in a department store the day before Edwin's arrival. The penalty for this crime in Thailand is maximum: death penalty.

Some things, however, did not add up: Big Joke claimed that Edwin had died with his throat cut after receiving a stab in the chest, but neither the surgeon's shirt had blood nor did they find his torso, key to proving the supposed cut of his throat. The experts also assured that such exhaustive 'work' could not have been carried out by a single person (“It is impossible for a single person to dismember an adult man in three hours”), but the police did not look for possible accomplices or protect or they preserved the crime scenes to search for new evidence: the kayak was on the beach, within reach of tourists and curious people; The room where he was murdered was thoroughly disinfected and cleaned after the first search. They also ended the search for the missing remains of the body and the victim's cell phone.

The Spanish defense

Daniel Sancho's parents supported their son from the first moment. While Silvia Bronchalo traveled to Thailand to visit him in prison, Rodolfo stayed in Spain to hire the best criminal lawyers who could defend his son: on the one hand, the Chippirrás-Balfagón office and on the other, that of Marcos García Monteswith which he traveled to Thailand in October.

The case took a turn with the leak of new data: Edwin had given Daniel money to invest in his hotel businesses in exchange for a friendly-sexual bond which became increasingly more demanding on the part of the Colombian. The chef claimed that he had forced him to leave his girlfriend and managed his life through blackmail, the last of which had been to publish intimate images of both of them in order to destroy his reputation and that of his family in Spain, especially that of his father. . With evidence that proves these facts, Daniel's defense changes the script of history: involuntary manslaughter motivated by an insurmountable fear maintained over time through threats. The sentence would not exceed ten years and after serving a third of the sentence in Thailand, he could be extradited to Spain.

Edwin Arrieta's family

Darling, the sister of the murdered surgeon and spokesperson for the family, went to the Colombian and Spanish media to ask for justice and cleanse her brother's image. “It is a broken family with parents who no longer have their son and who have not even been able to give him a Christian burial and do not respect the memory of a dead person. Nobody says that they speak well of my brother, but they do not speak about what You don't know, respect the name of my family and my brother,” she said through tears. “He was light. He was a noble man.”

However, in September, a Colombian man appeared on the scene claiming that he had experienced exactly the same thing as Daniel Sancho: “From the first day he showed sentimental interest in me and has done everything possible to be with me. He was obsessed and I had to stop my job and change my phone number after their threats. He had reported it to the courts. “He blackmailed me by talking to my family, that things were going to happen to me, that he was going to send me to people, that I had people following me. On my hand I have a scar from a bite that he gave me in one of his attacks. I felt identified with Daniel when I saw the news. “Either he would have killed me, or I would have killed him,” he said on Antena 3.

This testimony gave strength to the motivations that Daniel Sancho himself had confessed to commit the crime: “I am guilty, but I was Edwin's hostage. He had me as a hostage. It was a glass cage, but it was a cage. He made me destroy it.” “My relationship with my girlfriend has forced me to do things that I would never have done,” he said. “When the truth is known you will understand everything. I had no other option.”

Big Joke fraud and Thai lawyers

The police officer in charge of the case and top dog in the organization made headlines from the first day, not only accusing Daniel without evidence and sentencing his judicial future but also leaking information to the press, much of it manifestly false to mislead. In an exclusive interview with Cuatro, Big Joke assured that Daniel had never been in the Koh Samui prison but in Koh Panghan, something that even alerted the Spanish embassy in the country, in charge of ensuring the prisoner's well-being.

In September, the last straw broke the camel's back with an accusation against Big Joke for a crime of corruption and an exhaustive search of his home. He admitted to having bribed Thai journalists covering the case: “It was an act of good faith, because they charge little,” he said. Those responsible for the investigation prepared reports that do not leave him in a good light and that are already in the hands of the Thai Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin.

But Big Joke was not the only section of the case. The first two Thai lawyers assigned by the prosecution to defend Daniel Sancho in court also left in the middle of the investigation process. Both these and Sancho's defense in Spain disguised the 'breakup' with an “incompatibility” at work, but García Montes later assured: “They hid documentation from us because they were going for a life sentence for our client. “They did not advise Daniel well, the second lawyer did not even go to meet him.”

A trial in April 2024

On October 5, Daniel Sancho left Koh Samui prison for the first time since entering pretrial detention in August. Thinner and shaved, he went to court, where he heard the charges against him. On the 26th he returned again, this time accompanied by his father, Rodolfo, to whom he gave powers of representation while he was in prison, and also by his Spanish lawyer. The hearing was delayed due to the absence of an official translator and, finally, on November 13, he pleaded not guilty to the crimes of premeditated murder and destruction of official documents (in reference to Arrieta's passport), but guilty of concealing the body. of Edwin, thus marking his strategy for the process he will face in 2024.

Last December 12 was the last hearing, in which the Prosecutor's Office and Defense presented the evidence and witnesses of the case (28 witnesses from the first, 27 from the second). The judge set the date of the trial, which will be held from April 9 to May 3 during weekdays, Tuesday to Friday.