An abusive father in Ho Chi Minh City attempted suicide before confessing to the grizzly murder of his sister-in-law, police say.
Officers discovered the dismembered body of Bui My Hanh, 40, on Wednesday in two sacks at the mouth of an alley off of Vo Van Kiet Street -- not far from the house she shared with her de facto husband Dang Van Thanh, 37.
Police say her killer, Dang Van Tuan, 44 moved into their house shortly after his release from prison last year.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tuan led police officers to Hanh's severed head, which he allegedly burying in the soil around the Lo Gom Bridge in District 6.
Police are performing DNA tests to confirm whether the head belonged to Hanh.
Tuan was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after Nguyen Van Phung, a neighbor, told police he'd seen him carrying two large stinking sacks out of his house at 3am.
The neighbor did not bother to call the police until word of the discovery of Hanh's body in a nearby alley spread throughout the neighborhood.
“I smelled a foul odor and thought it came from some dead rats," he said. "I was startled to learn that it was a dead person."
Another eyewitness, identified only as L.M.P, said he saw Tuan heading to the market near Ong Lanh Bridge in District 1 on Tuesday to buy sacks and rolls of tape.
Tuan reportedly said he had just killed a person.
P. thought he was joking.
The statements allegedly led police to the unhappy household.
After breaking down his locked front door, police found Tuan lying unconscious in a pool of his own blood with his wrists slashed.
A sordid love triangle
Tuan reportedly told police he was released in late 2013 after serving seven years on drug trafficking charges.
A police source said the ex-con moved in with his younger brother, Thanh, and his common-law wife, Hanh -- who had herself moved in with Thanh in 2012.
The house the trio shared sits in an alley off of Tran Dinh Xu Street in District 1.
To make ends meet, the brothers drove a xe om (motorbike taxi) while Hanh provided high-interest loans to people in the neighborhood.
Tuan and Hanh were both methamphetamine addicts and usually smoked the drug at home together, both brothers told the police.
Local newspapers quoted a police as saying that Thanh claimed his wife was engaged in extramarital affairs with ten other men, including Tuan.
“If I wanted to have sex with Hanh, I had to pay,” he reportedly told the officers.
Tuan denied those claims.
“A lot of people believed that my sister-in-law and I had a sexual relationship, but I’d never commit such a sin. I considered Hanh my sister as she was very nice,” he reportedly told the interrogating officers.
He said the three of them had argued a great deal.
The precise nature of their dispute has not been revealed, but Tuan reportedly told police he killed Hanh after she threatened to hire gangsters to bump him off.
At around 3pm on September 28, while Thanh was off at work, Tuan invited Hanh to smoke meth with him, police say.
Once high, Tuan reportedly asked Hanh to forget about their quarrel, but she refused.
After flying into a rage he took up a black pepper mortar and cracked Hanh over the head, police say.
Then he choked the life out of her.
After locking the door, Tuan called Thanh and told him not to come home.
Tuan reportedly chopped Hanh's body up at around 2am on Wednesday.
After placing her dismembered corpse in sacks and dumping them at the mouth of a nearby alley, he reportedly drove to District 6 and buried her head.
Then, he went home and tried to poison himself.
When that failed, he slashed his wrists and was saved from death by a team of police officers.
Tuan has a son, whom he regularly beat following his release from prison, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted neighbors as saying.
Dang Van Kiet, 13, returned to his house wet, teary and fatigued at 5pm on Wednesday after his father's arrest.
Tuan had reportedly thrown him out of the house several days before.
T., a next-door neighbor, said she has taken care of Kiet since he was one-month old.
The neighbor claimed that Tuan used to live as husband and wife with two other women, besides Hanh.
Kiet, she said, is the child of his "second wife," who left Tuan soon after giving birth.
T. usually fed Kiet and, at some point, began to house him.
When Tuan was sent off to jail, she began sending the child to school.
“The boy has loving relatives but they’re all poor,” she said.
Tuan took the boy back after getting out of jail.
“Tuan usually beat the little one, not with a whip but an iron bar. Myself and many other neighbors usually rubbed him down him with medicinal oil after the beatings,” T. told Tuoi Tre.
Kiet lost many days at school because Tuan refused to pay his tuition, she said.
“The poor boy loves going to school. I talked to Tuan about it many times, and he always dismissed my concerns. He even told Kiet not to talk to me,” T. said.
She said now that the boy has no one left, she will continue to care for him.