14:47 GMT +321 January 2020
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    Thai police are investigating the death of Belgian tourist Elise Dallemagne, whose body was found in the jungles of the island of Koh Tao. The law enforcement services who claimed that the woman's death was a suicide were forced to re-open the investigation after her family and friends insisted she may have been killed.

    Dallemagne's death is not the first death of its kind in Thailand. The island of Koh Tao, which is also called the "island of the death" by the local press, has become notorious for several other mysterious incidents involving European tourists.

    Mysterious Death and Police's Hasty Conclusions

    Koh Tao is popular among divers because of the beauty of its coral reefs. Over the past three years, the resort community, which has a population of just 1,500 people, has experienced a series of strange deaths among European tourists. The police have classified almost all of them as suicides.

    In April, the 30-year-old Belgian tourist Elise Dallemagne was found dead in the Koh Tao jungle. According to police, her body was half eaten by lizards and wrapped in a piece of old cloth; next to it they found a canister with fuel.

    The local police officially declared the incident to be a suicide even a few days before the body was found. However, even after the body was discovered under strange circumstances, the police didn't want start an investigation until Elise's mother Michele van Egten literally forced them to do so.

    The woman is confident that her daughter had no suicidal tendencies. She talked with Elise on the eve of her disappearance. Her daughter had traveled through Asia and Australia for two years and was planning to visit Bangkok at the end of April and return home. In Koh Tao, which was supposed to be a short stop, Elise stayed at an inexpensive hotel called the Poseidon Resort.

    "Too many things show us that someone is involved. Police told us that Elise had hung herself up in the jungle. I cannot accept [the conclusion that] my daughter must have killed herself. She acted normally during our last conversation and showed no signs of depression. I don't know why she would have booked a transfer to Bangkok and then gone into the jungle to commit suicide," Elise's mother told The Daily Mail.

    The autopsy was conducted in a hospital in the south of Thailand, however Michele van Egten hasn't receive any results from the test; 14 days later, Eliza was cremated.

    One of the members of the rescue team who discovered the body of the woman in the Koh Tao jungle, told the Samui Times that she could have been killed on another island — Phangan.

    According to the police, Dallemagne was last seen on that island. In Phangan, the young woman practiced yoga in the tantric religious center run by the Sathya Sai Baba sect. Her mentor was Guru Raaman Andreas. He told reporters that the woman looked happy when she left the island. However, the police failed to contact the member of the sect; now they are looking for him to testify.

    "The Island of Death"

    Eliza's death was the seventh in a series of strange deaths of foreign tourists on the island over the past three years.

    In 2014, a young couple from Britain — David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were killed on the island, dying as a result of blows to their heads. Only in this case, the authorities admitted that it was a murder and convicted three visitors from Myanmar for allegedly committing this crime.

    In the same year, Nick Pierson, 25, a tourist from Britain, came with his parents to Thailand to celebrate the New Year and also died. His body was found by divers in the sea the day after his disappearance.

    According to the police, Pierson fell from a 15-meter cliff into the sea and drowned. However, his parents are confident that their son was killed: the body of the young man had multiple injuries, including injuries to his head. Experts suggested that the young man could have died as a result of a physical assault.
    In 2015, French tourist Dimitri Povse was found hanged in Koh Tao with his hands tied behind his back. His death was also ruled a suicide, despite the fact there were bruises on his neck, elbows and wrists.

    In the same year, a 23-year-old tourist from the United Kingdom, Christina Annesli, was also found dead on the island. The police assumed that the girl had died from some kind of illness. However, her parents as well as experts familiar with the circumstances doubt this story.

    In January 2016, the dead body of Briton Luke Miller was found in a pool at one of Koh Tao's hotels. There were wounds on his face, but the police said they found no signs of violence and suggested that the man hurt himself while intoxicated after drinking alcohol.

    Finally, in February 2017, a 23-year-old Russian woman, Valentina Novozhenova, disappeared on Koh Tao under mysterious circumstances. She was fond of freediving and on the day of her disappearance was heading to the beach, as recordings from video cameras showed.

    In her hotel room, the police found her passport, a mobile phone, a camera and a ferry ticket to Ko Samui. Employees of the hotel claim that after returning from the beach, the woman asked them about the schedule of ferries to the island.

    However, the police could not find any evidence whether the woman had used one of the ferries or not. So far, the whereabouts of the Russian woman remain unknown.


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