Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Charles Sobhraj

Love and Death

Two couples were Charles' next victims. Although they were separated by time and space, they would share the same horrible fate at the hands of the man who had become known to police as the Serpent.

Henricus
Henricus "Henk" Bintanja

Henk Bintanja and his fiancée, Cornelia "Cocky" Hemker, were Dutch students traveling around Southeast Asia when they met Charles Sobhraj in Hong Kong. He introduced himself as Alain Dupuis, a gem dealer, and quickly ingratiated himself with the two frugal Dutch. As a special favor, Charles sold Cocky a sapphire ring for $1,600 and invited them to his "luxurious villa" in Bangkok. He had to leave before them, he said, but would send a car and driver to meet them at the airport.

Cornelia
Cornelia "Cocky" Hemker

Henk and Cocky quickly met the same fate as so many others, mysteriously falling ill, and began recuperating at Charles' apartment. Charles took special care of the Dutch couple, locking up their valuables in his safe, along with their passports.

The night Charmayne Carrou appeared at Charles' apartment, Henk and Cocky were quickly hustled out of the building despite their illness. No one questioned Charles and Ajay when they returned a short time later smelling of gasoline and covered in dirt. Charles offered no explanation, but Dominique and the two former flics were becoming suspicious.

The Bangkok papers trumpeted the news about two tourists who had been bushwhacked by bandits and murdered. The man and woman had been strangled before their bodies were set ablaze. No identification had been found. The papers speculated about how the two doomed lovers met their fate for a few days until the discovery of a second drowned Western woman pushed the story off the front page.

Charles Sobhraj in 1975
Charles Sobhraj in 1975

Entering Nepal using Henk's passport, he met a pair of wandering Westerners in Katmandu. Laddie DuParr and Annabella Tremont met in Nepal and quickly became friends. Laddie had come from Canada to climb Mount Everest and Annabella was a restless California girl looking for meaning in her life. They spent a good deal of time in the section of Katmandu called "Freak Street" where anyone could buy anything from hashish to rubies. Laddie was biding his time until the weather cleared and Everest was climbable and Annabella was just biding her time.

Details are sketchy about how they met Charles Sobhraj in Katmandu, but it wasn't long before a man's body was found in a field, burned and slashed with a knife. While authorities were trying to identify the body -- it was clear it was a Westerner because of the size -- a second Westerner's body, positively identified as Annabella, was found nearby. She had been stabbed several times in the chest.

Police got their first lead when Nepalese customs reported that Laddie DuParr had left the country very shortly after the estimated time of Annabella's death. They surmised that Laddie had killed his new girlfriend and fled the country as soon as possible. They were confused, though, about the identity of the Western male who had been found nearby.

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