Quebec coroner refutes Thai autopsy results for Belanger sisters

PHUKET: A Quebec coroner has refuted claims by Thai officials that the Belanger sisters died in their Phi Phi hotel room in June after consuming the insecticide DEET.

Audrey Belanger, 20, and Noemi Belanger, 25, were found dead in their hotel room on Phi Phi Island on June 15. Both had suffered a violent physical reaction to suspected poisoning.

Autopsies conducted by forensic police in Thailand identified undisclosed amounts of DEET in both woman’s systems, possibly from a “party cocktail” known locally as “4×100”. The regular form of the “cocktail”, however, does not contain DEET or any other insecticide.

But the independent autopsy in Quebec has ruled out the possibility of DEET being the cause of the sisters’ deaths, said Quebec coroner Renee Roussel on Radio-Canada.

Dr Rene Blais of Quebec’s poison control center explained that the concentration of the chemical reported by the Thai pathologist does not correspond to concentration that would be toxic, “let alone a concentration that would be fatal.”

Thought the test results rule out DEET as the cause of death, the autopsy in Quebec did not determine another possible cause.

Secondary autopsies have already been conducted in Montreal, but the results have not been released, reported Radio-Canada.

Thai officials have not officially closed the case. However, Lt Col Jongrak Pimthong of the Krabi City Police has repeatedly confirmed to the Phuket Gazette that the investigation has come to a halt at the police investigation level.

“We have sent a cause-of-death report to the Canadian Embassy or the Krabi Prosecutor’s Office. This is not a criminal report. We have no suspects,” Lt Col Jongrak said.

The cause of death is listed in the police report as “unknown” due to the circumstances of the sisters’ deaths, he said.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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