One of the most tragic news stories out of Thailand this year was that of the deaths of Canadian sisters, Noemi Belanger, 25, and Audrey Belanger, 20, who were found dead in their hotel room on Phi Phi Island on June 15th. The two sisters had last been seen drinking and dancing with two Brazilian men the previous evening. Now, after an autopsy by Thai offiicials back in June that concluded they died of DEET poisoning, a Canadian coroner says that’s simply not possible.
After the first autopsy by Thai authorities, a second autopsy was done on the women’s bodies. But, in an interview with Radio-Canada this week, Quebec coroner, Renee Roussel says it is easy to conclude that the Belanger sisters did not died of DEET poisoning, as the amount found in their body wasn’t even toxic let alone fatal.
While Thai officials insist the women died from inbibing a DEET-laced alcoholic cocktail sometimes drunk by young travelers to ‘get high’, it’s in fact likely the DEET in their system came from nothing more than the insect repellent they used.
Of course, it’s not surprising Thai pathologists came up with this decision. They are notorious for their poor forensic knowledge, abysmal evidence collection practices, and releasing rulings about deaths that no western coroner would ever agree with.
There is only one Thai pathologist that seems to actually know what she is doing, and that is the very intelligent and even more famous Porntip Rojanansunan. Consequently, she is not well-liked by the Thai establishment, with the puu yai or ‘big-wigs’ often trying to keep her away from crime scenes and autopsies. Why? Because she seeks out the truth, and not the ‘acceptable conclusion’ often released to the media by other Thai officials.
Unfortunately, it does not appear Porntip Rojanansunan was involved in the autopsies of the Belanger sisters. If she had have been, the released results would likely have been much different.