This article was updated.
The Italian authorities arrested 21-year-old Dutchman Sacha C. after a two-day manhunt in the forests surrounding the village of Montaldo di Mondovi, the Province of Cuneo announced in a press release. C. is accused of stabbing his father, Chain-Fa, and a family friend, Lambertus ter Horst, in a home in the village on Wednesday and then fleeing into the woods of the Val Corsaglia.
The suspect was taken into custody at the small San Bernardino chapel in the woods near the outskirts of Pamparato, said Emiliano Negro a regional political leader. He was first spotted asleep on a bench outside the chapel after he was tracked down by a group of people who are experts in search missions in the area. He was taken into custody by three officers without incident. The province announced the arrest at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
“We are all essentially pleased with this capture, and for us, it is the end of a brief nightmare,” said Giovanni Balbo, the Mayor of Montaldo di Mondoví.
The Carabinieri, Italy’s military policing force, arrested C. in the woods after soldiers had cordoned off the area in the past few hours. The area is about 12 kilometers directly from the scene of the murders, though a more winding route would have been needed to reach the chapel.
C. was reportedly taken to an area hospital where he will be subjected to a toxicology screening. Dozens of Carabinieri officers combed the wooded area around Montaldo di Mondovi and nearby villages with the help of sniffer dogs searching the ground, and helicopters searching from above. The province helped coordinate the effort over the past two days.
Luca Robaldo, the province’s president, said in a statement that he was informed of the arrest on Friday morning and said he has been in close contact with Mayor Balbo. The two thanked law enforcement for their work on the investigation and their efforts in making the arrest. Robaldo also thanked those residents who assisted authorities during the manhunt.
C. and his 65-year-old father, Chain-Fa, were visiting Lambertus ter Horst, 60, at his home in the mountain valley for a few days. On Wednesday, an argument is believed to have escalated to the point where Sasha C. grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed his father. Investigators suspect he then attacked Ter Horst when he intervened. Both men died in the assault.
Montaldo di Mondovi locals were shocked by the killings. The community is an area many Dutch people live, have second homes, or visit for holidays, according to local media. Residents describe Ter Horst as a friendly presence who loved the region. Balbo called Ter Horst a “good villager and our friend.”
Chain-Fa was a primary school teacher in Amsterdam, described as warm and always trying to help young people in need.