A bad guy: the tragedy raises questions about the ability of a US fugitive from justice to enter Thailand at this time of restricted entry into the kingdom when he clearly posed a potential danger to his relationship partner in the kingdom based on publicly available records in the United States.
The 31-year-old American who brutally murdered his pregnant Thai wife in Nan province this week was a fugitive from justice in the United States who had previously attempted to kill his ex-wife in 2019. 32-year-old Jason Balzer, who only entered Thailand in 2021, at a time of restricted entry and a regime requiring a Certificate of Entry, was facing charges in relation to the abuse of his wife in the United States including attempted murder. His Thai wife Pitchaporn’s half-naked body, dumped in a trash bin by the side of the road, was unearthed on Wednesday.
On Thursday, police in Chiang Mai flew US citizen Jason Matthew Balzer by helicopter back to Nan province where local police are ready to prosecute him for the murder of his two-month pregnant Thai wife whose body was found on Wednesday in the Mueang district of the province stuffed into a green rubbish bin with wheels and dumped near undergrowth on the side of the road.
Police had discovered the body using sniffer dogs after the mother of 32-year-old Pitchaporn Kidchob raised the alarm on Monday when she visited the rented home where her daughter had been living with the American since he moved to Thailand in recent months.
Told police he knew his Thai wife since meeting her in Phuket when she worked as a maid at a hotel there
The American reportedly had known Ms Pitchaporn since 2017 when he had met her as she previously had worked as a maid in a hotel in Phuket.
However, it has now also emerged that the 32-year-old Mr Balzer is a fugitive from justice in the United States where he faces a range of charges including attempted murder and domestic abuse against his ex-wife in Boulder Colorado as well as charges brought against him after he was stopped in the American state at the end of December last year when police found 72 guns in his car with a passenger who was already a convicted felon.
Killer tracked by police using CCTV after mother of the murdered woman raised the alarm
After the alarm was raised on Monday, police in Nan province began to track the US man from CCTV footage after he was spotted by Ms Pitchaporn’s mother making his escape, from the rented house that he shared with her daughter, on a red Honda motorbike as she arrived there.
The mother had decided to visit her daughter after she could not reach her by phone. Inside the home, immediate fears for the young woman were confirmed after the shocked parent found blood spatter.
Police later discovered a blood-stained mattress shifted outside the house in the Wiang Sa district of Nan province.
The body of Ms Pitchaporn was found two days later, 15 km from the house by police sniffer dogs.
Killer tried to hide in Chiang Mai, told police his wife angered him when she told him to leave
Police arrested Mr Balzer on Thursday in the Hang Dong district of Chiang Mai. Police Major General Bandit Tungkaseranee, the Deputy Chief of Provincial Police Region 5 gave details of the investigation at that point.
He said the American had fled Nan in order to be less conspicuous in Chiang Mai where more foreigners lived. He admitted that he had killed his wife explaining she had ordered him to leave their home.
He told police he had been angered and hurt because he had sold his possessions in the United States and moved to Thailand to be with her.
Held himself out as a well-paid programmer who gave up everything to move to Thailand for love
It was reported that Mr Balzer held himself out in Thailand as a computer programmer who worked for a large multinational firm reportedly earning a salary of well over ฿100,000 per month.
This week, in Chiang Mai, after his arrest, the American told investigating officers he had, at some point, lived with his Thai wife, Ms Pitchaporn in the United States but he had resigned his position there and divested himself of his properties to move back to Nan province with her.
Autopsy being carried out, police noted stab wounds to the pregnant woman’s body in the breast area
He told officers that he had no idea that his wife was two months pregnant when he had killed her.
Ms Pitchaporn’s body was found by police naked except for red underwear and already in a decomposing state in the rubbish bin at the side of the road with several stab wounds to her breast area.
A full autopsy of her body is being carried out as part of the murder investigation.
Arrested by police in Mead Colorado at the end of last year for trafficking guns with a convicted felon
At the end of last year, on the 30th December 2020, Jason Balzer was arrested by local police in Mead Colorado after he was pulled over for driving a car with a false licence plate and failing to signal at a turn.
The 32-year-old was accompanied by 44-year-old Benjamin Leyba, a convicted criminal who had been released by authorities from prison in the US on parole.
Police discovered no less than 72 guns in the car and later, at a lockup facility, recovered seven more firearms. The cache of weapons included rifles, shotguns and pistols.
Posted bail on five charges including breach of a protection order taken out against him by his ex-wife
It is understood Mr Balzer was later able to secure his own release from Weld County Jail after posting bail of $1,500 for each of five charges filed against him by police.
The first four charges were two counts of being in possession of illegal firearms and two counts of possessing dangerous weapons.
However, the fifth charge against him was for 79 violations of a protection order normally granted to an individual who has been threatened by the subject of the order. In this case, it was the killer’s ex-wife from the year before.
Aggressive Balzer woke his wife from her sleep and demanded sexual intercourse with her
On the evening of Thursday, April 25th 2019, then 30-year-old Jason Balzer attacked his American ex-wife in the Red Mountain and Deerwood drive area of Boulder near the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado.
Thai police on Thursday indicated that they are aware of this incident and charge.
Sometime before 8 pm, he woke his wife as she was sleeping and demanded sexual intercourse with her. When she told him she was tired, he became violent and aggressive.
Violent attack on his ex-wife by a man with a clean criminal history up to that point in the United States
Mr Balzer, who up to this point had a clean criminal history in the United States except for a minor traffic violation, seized her phone as she tried to use it and began hitting her in the face. He also slammed her head against the headboard of the bed.
As his tirade mounted, the American withdrew a gun from a drawer in a desk and pointed it at his wife and threatened to kill her.
‘I will kill you,’ he screamed.
Wife grappled him causing two shots to be discharged into a wall and the ceiling with the gun
His wife had the presence of mind to grapple the gun from his hand and it discharged in front of her face several times sending bullets into the wall and the ceiling.
She then threw the gun under the bed and made her escape from the home.
Police responding to the incident quickly discovered evidence of the bullet holes in the wall and ceiling that Mr Balzer had attempted to conceal while they responded to his attack on his wife.
Balzer’s wife also revealed to police that her husband had attempted to strangle her two weeks before that.
Charged with attempted murder and other crimes
The American was arrested and taken to Boulder County Jail and later faced a slew of charges.
These included attempted murder in the second-degree, second-degree assault, menacing behaviour, third-degree assault, obstruction of the use of a phone, pointing a firearm as well as tampering with evidence.
He was also charged with domestic violence.
The details of the case are publicly accessible on local authority records in Colorado. The information is also available on the National Crime Information Center operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and which is made available to authorised law enforcement agencies.
Entry to Thailand requires a Certificate of Entry
Under the current arrangements, all incoming foreigners to Thailand require a Certificate of Entry from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when entering the country. It is also understood that all visitors are screened by the Immigration Bureau on entry.
It is not clear how the American managed to enter Thailand while facing charges in a foreign country or whether, in fact, there is an in-depth screening process for situations like this where an international passenger may have a clean criminal record but have charges pending before a court in a foreign country.
This would also not be the first time that a fugitive from justice in the United States or another country has managed to enter the country on the run from criminal prosecution at home.
Immigration Act 1979 gives Thai authorities broad powers to deny entry to people who pose a danger to the kingdom or others based on the facts presented
Under the 1979 Immigration Act, Thailand’s Immigration Bureau has authority to deny entry to foreigners with a criminal record under Section 12 which also gives immigration bureau officers broadly defined powers to deny entry to anyone convicted of an offence or on a range of other grounds where the foreigner is deemed to be a threat or could cause adverse consequences to the kingdom or its population.
The law gives individual officers discretion to make judgments on the facts presented.
The death of the two months pregnant young Thai woman at the hands of the American, purportedly her husband, has riveted the attention of many Thais this week and it is understood that feelings in Nan province are running understandably high after this appalling outrage.