Monday, June 18, 2012

Thailand: Two Canadian Sisters, 20 and 26, Found Dead in Hotel Room at Phi Phi Resort

Two Canadian sisters, Audrey Belanger, 20, and her sister Noemi, 25, from Quebec, were found dead in their guest room at the Phi Phi Palm Residence Hotel on Phi Phi Island on Friday (June 15). 

Although homicide and robbery have been ruled out, their cause of death seems to be focusing on severe food poisoning or a toxic reaction. Autopsies of the two young Canadians will be conducted over the next two days.

COMMENT: Our condolences go out to the family of the Belanger sisters.

Evidence of excessive vomiting was found throughout the guest room; the room door had been secured with a door chain which most hotel rooms have as a security feature.

The two women reportedly checked into the upscale hotel on Tuesday (June 11) and immediately left their room to enjoy the nightlife.  The room was not cleaned on Wednesday or Thursday, because the housekeeping maid assumed that the room was occupied.

On Friday (June 15) a pass key was used to determine whether the two women were going to continue their stay, at which point the women were found.

In May 2009, a similar incident occurred on Phi Phi Island when two women from the US and Norway died after suddenly falling ill at a guesthouse. In that case, the victims suffered severe vomiting and stomach pains before being rushed to hospital. Doctors determined the cause of death as dehydration and shock, but it was not known what caused their sudden illness. Two other people with the same symptoms survived. 

Another series of suspicious tourist deaths occurred last year in  Chiang Mai. Six of the victims, including women from New Zealand, France and the US, a Canadian, an elderly British couple and a Thai tourist guide, were staying at the same hotel in January and February. The cause of death was not established, though some evidence suggested the use of the chemical spray chlorpyrifos, used to kill bedbugs, may have been the root cause.

The Phi Phi Islands, located of the south-western coast, are an especially popular tourist spot. Known for their white sand beaches and clear water, the islands have been granted national park status by the Thai government.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.