American Alex Dion in custody over murder of Thai national – Sydney

PHOTO: Wachiro “Mario” Phetmang – Facebook

An American father, charged with the murder of a Thai man in western Sydney last year, is set to remain in custody until his next court appearance in June.

Australian police have charged 38 year old Alex Dion with murder of a Thai national – the body found bound and gagged on a Sydney roadside. He has been charged with the 2018 murder of Wachira “Mario” Phetmang after he arrived in Sydney from California under police guard.

The arrest warrant for Dion was issued last September while he already was in custody on a domestic violence charge in San Diego.

Wachira’s body was discovered by a truck driver in June 2018 bound, gagged and wrapped in plastic. An autopsy revealed more than 20 wounds to his head and had multiple skull fractures.

The 33 year old former cafe and spa worker had been living in Australia for at least the last 10 years, and was a permanent resident at the time of his death. He was last seen alive on May 25, 2018 at a petrol station in the Sydney suburb of South Hurstville.

Dion, a US national, is believed to have left Australia on May 27, more than a week before the body was found and formally identified.

When Australian police held a news conference seeking the public’s help in the case, Dion called them and tried to blame an associate for Wachira’s killing, while also acknowledging that he had Wachira’s credit cards and cellphones with him in San Diego, according to the search warrant.

Dion told police that he had met Wachira at the gas station to purchase drugs but that he left when their associate showed up, a story police claim is contradicted by surveillance footage.

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