A U.S. soldier in Colorado, believed to have fled the country to Thailand, was charged with murder after the body of his estranged wife was found in a dumpster last month, prosecutors said.
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office filed the charge against Peter Van Bawi Lian, 21, on Wednesday, alleging that he traveled from his military post in Colorado Springs to Indianapolis on Dec. 22 and killed his wife, Khuang Par.
Her body was found in a suitcase inside a dumpster in Indianapolis on Dec. 23. An autopsy showed that Par had trauma on the left and right side of her neck.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Prosecutor's said in a probable cause affidavit that flight records show Lian, a soldier in the Army, then fled the country to Bangkok, and they believe he is still there.
Early last month, Par was granted a protective order against her husband following a domestic violence incident in November in Colorado Springs, where the couple had been living at the time.
Prosecutors said Par told police that they had been arguing over her moving to Indianapolis, where she has family.
Par told officers that during the argument Lian "began to choke her with one hand around the neck then both hands around her neck,” prosecutors said.
Lian allegedly admitted to police that he had choked his wife and said he yelled "I'm going to kill you" in her native language of Burmese, the affidavit states.
He was arrested by the Colorado Springs Police Department on Nov. 30 for assault and menacing.
Following his release, he moved out of the couple's home and into the barracks building at Fort Carson.
Prosecutors said Lian, who has been in the military for seven months, was last seen at Fort Carson on Dec. 21 and was due to return on Dec. 26, but never arrived back at the base.
"Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to the victim's family and friends during this difficult time," Col. James G. Kent said in a statement to NBC News. "Fort Carson will continue to cooperate with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in this ongoing investigation."
In addition to the murder charge, Lian is also wanted by the military for deserting the base.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.