William Andrew Webb
Authorities in Yasothon province have reported the death of an American man. The 54-year-old was found dead in his apartment – undisovered for five days.
Pol Lt Col Mondri Sisutam, an inspector at Mueang Yasothon Provincial Police Station, said he was contacted by the housemaid of an apartment block at about 10:30. “She reported that she has found a dead foreigner lying on the floor inside an apartment where she worked.”
Police arrived at the scene with rescue volunteers who had been asked to assist in recovery. Forensic investigators and a medical examiner from Yasothon Hospital were also on the scene.
The chalet in which the dead man died had only recently been completed and several adjacent rooms were still under construction. Pol Lt Col Mondri> stated that the death occurred on Liang Rd in the district of Mueang Yasothon district near a Tesco Lotus but he stopped short of naming the complex in question.
Upon entering the chalet, Police were met with the sight of a naked overweight male with brown hair. “He was lying on the floor, face-up, at the foot of his bed,” Pol Lt Col Mondri said. During a search of the room, police found the man’s driving license which identified him as William Andrew Webb, aged 54.
“The stench emanating from the small room was overpowering”, said one of the officials. “We had to wear face masks and cover our noses with our hands, though it didn’t make much difference to the intensity of the smell.” Police estimate that Mr Webb had been dead in his room for at least five days.
Most people know that a body starts to decompose from the minute a person dies. Bacteria and enzymes start to break cells and the internal organs start to rot. The intensity of the smell given off by the body is often a reflection of how long the body has been left decomposing. “After five days in this hot, humid environment, body gases inside the stomach expand causing bloating and eventually body fluids begin to seep out from various orifaces,” a specialist said.
The medical examiner from Yasothon Hospital briefly examined the body on the scene and declared there were no obvious marks or defensive wounds on the deceased’s body to suggest a fight had taken place. In order to determine the actual cause of death, volunteers took Mr Webb’s body to Sunpasitthiprasong Hospital in Ubon Ratchathani for an autopsy.
Mr Sopa, the owner of the building, was able to give police important information about Mr Webb. “He arrived here last June and booked two rooms, one for staying in and one as a storage room.”
“He could speak Thai and worked in a language school in Roi Et. Almost every morning, I saw him get on his motorbike and drive to his school. He used to return in the late afternoon and usually just went straight into his room.”
Mr Sopa pointed out that Mr Webb had recently become very frustrated over his financial problems. “He told me that he is still waiting for the government to send him a cheque, I don’t know what for. However, he didn’t get paid and after a few weeks, Mr Webb was outstanding on his rent. Each of the two rooms was rented out for 3,200 baht per month and he stopped paying me when his bill reached 14,000 baht.”
Mr Sopa said he had approached Mr Webb several times to ask him to settle his rent, but Mr Webb claimed that the cheque he was waiting for still hadn’t arrived. He promised to settle as soon as it did so Mr Sopa agreed to wait for the money. He last saw Mr Webb on the evening of Thursday, October 18. “I asked again, and again, and each time, he begged me to wait a little longer.”
On Thursday, October 22, Mr Sopa went to Mr Webb’s apartment to try and collect the outstanding rent. “I knocked and called his name, but nobody replied. I thought he might have gone to visit a friend, so I decided to try his room later that day.”
When Mr Sopa returned to the apartment, he noticed that the door was unlocked. As he opened it slowly, he was overwhelmed by the horrible smell emanating from within. With a cloth over his mouth and nose, he entered only to find the tenant’s grotesquely bloated corpse lying in a pool of excrement and body fluids. He immediately called the police.
Despite a lack of any obvious signs of suicide, investigators strongly suspect that Mr Webb did, in fact, take his own life. “He was in a lot of financial trouble and had no one to go to, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the autopsy found evidence of a suicide,” Pol Lt Col Mondri said. The investigation continues.
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