Sunday 22 October 2017

Thai police release final image of backpacker found dead on 'death island'

Elise Dallemagne was found dead on the Thai island of Koh Tao
Elise Dallemagne was found dead on the Thai island of Koh Tao

Lucy Pasha-Robinson

Police have released what is believed to be the final image of a Belgian backpacker who was reportedly found dead half-eaten by lizards on a Thai island.

Authorities claim the CCTV capture shows Elise Dallemagne walking just metres from where her body was later found.

Police released the image after reopening the investigation into the 30-year-old's death on the island of Koh Tao, amid allegations of a cover up.

Seven tourists have died in mysterious circumstances on the island in the last three years and one remains missing.

Ms Dallemagne, from Brussels, was found dead in the jungle on 27 April.  Local police said she killed herself several days earlier.

Police released the CCTV image as the mystery surrounding her final days continues to grow.

Her mother Michele van Egten said the woman in the CCTV image appears too big to be her daughter.

She suspects foul play and refuted the suggestion that her daughter killed herself.

She said said her daughter appeared to be in a good state of mind when they had last spoken 10 days earlier.

“I do not believe what the police have told us. We fear somebody else was involved,” Ms van Egten told Der Farang magazine. “We’re more and more thinking that the police information is not the right explanation.”

It comes as a hotel worker claimed Ms Dallemagne checked into a hotel under a fake name just days before her death. A fire reportedly broke out in her room the same night, causing her to flee to alternative accommodation several miles away.

The Samui Times claimed police never questioned locals on the island. It reported that they had not broadened the investigation to include Koh Phangan, where Ms Dallemange apparently lived as part of a yoga and meditation community.

As a result, authorities on the island have been accused of keeping quiet to avoid bad publicity.

Lieutenant Colonel Chokchai Suthimek shut down allegations of a cover up, saying: "There is no sign of murder.

"They call this 'death island' non-stop. They paint it that way. We work so hard. When there is a dead body we’re not just sitting on it," he told The Telegraph.

The Independent has attempted to contact local police for comment but calls went unanswered.

Independent News Service

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