Charter Michael Brad
Chiang Mai police believe that a German who has committed suicide by locking himself in a room and using a charcoal burner to suffocate himself.
Investigator Pol Lt Col Anek Chaiyawong came to this conclusion after he found the dead man, identified as 48-year-old German Charter Michael Brad*, in his bathroom. “The door was locked from the inside. It looked like he tried everything to keep the room as airtight as possible,” Pol Lt Col Anek said.
Charcoal-burning is a widely used method to commit suicide because it is perceived to be easy and pain-free. When burning charcoal in an isolated room, the concentration of oxygen in the body is being replaced with the toxic carbon monoxide which allows the individual to continue breathing without feeling the sensation of suffocating. When the concentration of carbon monoxide in the body is too high, vital organs no longer receive the oxygen they need in order to function properly, resulting in death.
However, some academics who have researched this method call this a common misconception: “[Charcoal-burning suicide] is a suffocating experience which is extremely unpleasant,” Professor Dominic Lee Tak-shing, a psychiatric expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post. “The process involves displacing oxygen, almost like being strangled, and people who survive say it is not something they had anticipated or thought carefully about.”
The charcoal burner and ashes police found in the bathroom seem to confirm the cause of death, police said. Thai media reported that the incident had occurred at Mr Brad’s rented home in Soi 4 of Suk Kasem Rd in Chiang Mai’s Su Thep subdistrict.
A neighbour became concerned after not seeing Mr Brad, who lived alone, leaving his house for several days. When she noted a scent of decay emerging from Mr Brad’s house, she asked the owner of the house to check on him. After he had opened the door with a master key, the two found Mr Brad lying dead next to the toilet.
After reporting the gruesome found to Phu Ping Ratchaniwet Provincial Police Station, police came to Mr Brad’s to investigate the case. According to a doctor who was also dispatched to the scene, the body of Mr Brad had already started to decompose. The doctor estimated he had been dead for at least five days prior being found.
“There was no sign of a struggle,” Pol Lt Col Anek told the local media. “He was wearing just a pair of black shorts. “We were told that Mr Brad had personal problems which he thought could never be resolved.”
Rescue volunteers transported the body to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital where a post-mortem examination is supposed to establish the official cause of death. Police already informed the German embassy in Bangkok who had to tell the tragic news to Mr Brad’s family.
* The name has been transcripted from Thai and might be inaccurate.
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