Saturday, June 7, 2014

Malaysia: Update--Body of Briton Gareth Huntley, 34, Found After Disappearing in May While Hiking, Autopsy Underway

According to and AFP, police confirmed on Saturday (June 7) that a body found on Malaysia's Tioman island is that of British tourist Gareth Huntley, 34, who went missing during a jungle hike last month.

Zakaria Ahmad, head of crime investigation in the eastern state of Pahang, said DNA results revealed that the body discovered on Tioman island on Wednesday (June 4) was that of the Huntley.

Police reportedly have not as yet confirmed the cause of death, although an autopsy has been ordered.

COMMENT: Huntley disappeared on the island off the east coast of Malaysia on May 27, leading to a major manhunt and rising concern in Britain, including from Prime Minister David Cameron.

The partly decomposed body was found on the banks of a small stream some 100 meters (328 feet) from a sea turtle conservation site where Huntley had worked as a volunteer.

DNA samples were taken from Huntley's mother, Janet Southwell, who traveled to Tioman together with Huntley's girlfriend a week ago to press the authorities to find him.

Huntley's friends also set up a Facebook page to urge emphasis on the search after they claimed authorities were dragging their feet.

British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said he discussed the case with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak on Monday (June 2) and offered British assistance in the search.

In a previous homicide on Tioman, French tourist Stephanie Foray, 30, went missing on the island in May 2011. Her remains were found three months later, buried in a cave.

A Malaysian shopkeeper is currently standing trial over her murder. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed her after she spurned his sexual advances.