Philipp Leonhard Halter
The body of a missing Swiss man was found in a bamboo forest in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The wife of the 58-year-old expat had reported him missing five days earlier after he failed to return from a ride with his scooter.
Monks at Wat Khao Sanam Chay temple in Hua Hin notified the authorities after they found a scooter on a road leading to the top of a mountain close to the monastery. Hua Hin Provincial Police Station received the report on Saturday evening and dispatched officers to track down the owner of the vehicle.
“After arriving on the scene, we checked the number plate of the white Yahama Filano that was found on the road,” Pol Lt Samit Phetbradit retold the events in a report on Ban Muang. “The vehicle, 1 กฒ 2247 Prachuap Khiri Khan, was registered to a woman named Wilawan Warachina who lives nearby.”
Mrs Wilawan, 42, who stays in a house less than 400 metres away from the temple on the opposite side of Phet Kasem Rd in Soi Hua Hin 102>, had reported her scooter missing – along with Philipp Leonhard Halter, her 58-year-old Swiss husband.
“Mrs Wilawan told us that she saw Mr Halter the last time on the evening of Monday, April 22, when he left with the couple’s Yamaha scooter to go on a ride in the area.” When he failed to return that night, Mrs Wilawan reported her husband missing, Pol Lt Samit explained.
After police connected the scooter to Mr Halter’s missing five days later, they asked volunteers of the local rescue foundation to help search the area. A strong smell eventually led rescuers and police to the distended body which was discovered between 20:30 and 21:00 with his face up in a ravine inside a small bamboo forest at the mountain.
“Mr Halter’s body was already in an advanced state of decomposition,” investigator Pol Lt Samit stated. “We were not able to identify the body by its face but found the person’s driving license which identified him as Philipp Leonhard Halter, 58.” Forensic police confirmed that the Swiss had died at least four to five days earlier.
According to an interview with Mrs Wilawan, her husband had been suffering from depression. However, police believe Mr Halter might have died of an accident: “Based on the current investigation, we think that Mr Halter probably fell into the ravine while riding his scooter down the mountain road.”
After spending more than two hours removing the body from the bamboo forest, it is now being transported to Police General Hospital in Bangkok to undergo a post-mortem examination. Police said they will notify the Swiss Embassy on Monday.
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