BANGKOK -- Police in Thailand are investigating the death of a German woman after arresting a German man for allegedly dumping her body into a canal.
Thailand's Immigration Police Commissioner Lt. Col. Sompong Chingduang said Tuesday that the dead woman, 77-year-old Margund Schaefer, co-owned a bar in the resort town of Pattaya with Richard Stanislaus and shared a house with him and his Thai girlfriend.
The police began their investigation of the case at the request of German authorities after Schaefer's relatives reported losing contact with her.
Thai police launched a search for both Schaefer and Stanislaus in the eastern province of Chonburi, and interrogated Stanislaus after finding that his visa had expired in 2017.
Stanislaus' girlfriend told police he had been living in part on pension money sent to Schaefer. Police said the 55-year-old Stanislaus is wanted in Germany on several fraud charges and that he is reported to have committed previous crimes involving swindling the elderly.
His girlfriend told police that Schaefer fell in the bathroom and died in January. She said Stanislaus put her body in a box and dumped it in a canal, where it was later found. DNA tests and dental records established that it was Schaefer.
Police have charged Stanislaus with concealing, moving or destroying a corpse and overstaying his visa.
They said forensic tests could tell them whether Schaefer died by accident or was intentionally killed.
"We found out that Mr. Richard and Mrs. Margund opened a beer bar together in Pattaya, but the business was unsuccessful," Lt. Col. Sompong said at a news conference where Stanislaus was present but didn't speak. "That led them into an argument. A Thai witness said they had an argument before the victim went and took a shower. But whether or not the argument led to a murder, we can't say at this point."
This story has been corrected to say that the age of Stanislaus is 52, not 55.