One of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole world, Thailand is also one of the most beautiful. A firm favourite for backpackers and the younger crowd, Thailand has become an essential part of a backpacker’s journey. With its glorious beaches, crisp blue oceans and glorious sunshine it is easy to understand why Thailand attracts so many people every year. However, although it may look like paradise, Thailand harbours a dark secret lurking underneath its picturesque scenery. From horrific traffic accidents to a booming drug industry, Thailand is also known for scamming, property frauds, suicides and a number of suspicious deaths.
Dangerous to the say the least, Thailand is also home to one of the most notorious islands in the world, Koh Tao. An island gripped by terror, Koh Tao is riddled with sexual attacks, murder, mafia and highly suspicious activity. In fact, a number of disturbing deaths have occurred on the stunningly beautiful island, an image that so prominently contradicts its seedy underbelly. With backpackers seemingly the main target, a worrying amount of men and women have died under strange and worrying circumstances over the years.
Still extremely popular with tourists despite such horrific crimes, Koh Tao and the rest of Thailand will only continue to grow with the nations dark and disturbing sole unable to deter those from entering. Here are 15 freaky deaths in Thailand.
15. David Carradine
A huge fan of Thailand and its numerous islands, David Carradine spent a lot of time soaking up the sun and partying with the locals. But sadly, at the age of 72, Carradine was found dead in his hotel room in a somewhat compromising position. Found naked, hanging by a rope in the room’s closet it was initially believed he had killed himself. However, after further investigation it was proven that Carradine had been a victim of accidental asphyxiation with Carradine said to be a fan of self-bondage and masochism. Confirming this to be true Carradine’s ex-wife claimed, “there was a dark side to David, there was a very intense side to David. People around him know that.”
14. Jayne Nixon
Like so many before her as well as after Jayne Nixon travelled to Thailand as part of a backpacking adventure around the world. Originally from Preston, UK, Jayne had decided to go on the trip after the break up of a long term relationship and a new found independence. However, just six days after leaving her life behind, Jayne was found naked, and dead in her room in a Bangkok Backpacker’s hotel with the cause said to be drugs and alcohol. Yet, things were not so simple, with Jayne’s parents demanding to know more information such as the man who had checked into the hotel with Jayne but had mysteriously vanished. With no clear answer to what happened, it is likely that her death will forever be shrouded in mystery.
13. Kirsty Jones
Deciding to embark on a journey of a lifetime, 23-year-old Kirsty Jones travelled to Asia soon after graduating from university in 2000. With Singapore and Malaysia ticked off her list Kirsty moved on to Thailand and had planned on meeting her best friend there. However, not long after she had arrived Kirsty was found raped and murdered in the hostel where she was staying. Over the next few days, rumours and stories began spreading across the country as well as corrupt investigations and suspicious policing. The hunt for the killer garnered a number of suspects but no solid answer to what had exactly happened the night Kirsty was murdered. To this day the killing has yet to be solved, with the family of Kirsty Jones desperate to find the answer to what really happened the evening of her death.
12. Si Quey
In 1944 immigrant Si Quey moved to Thailand from his homeland China. Once settled, Quey began committing a number of horrific crimes that eventually led to murder. Displaying a penchant for children, Quey suffocated and ate six young boys, an act which he believed would strengthen him and make him immortal. Arrested and sentenced to death, Quey went down in history as Thailand’s most famous serial killer. To somewhat ‘celebrate’ his existence Quey’s body was preserved in paraffin wax and put on display in Songkran Niyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum as a warning to future would be killers. The crimes of Si Quey are also told to young children who misbehave with the promise that Quey will come and eat their livers and hearts if they don’t behave well.
11. Elise Dallemange
Another mysterious death comes in the form of Elise Dallemagne who originally hailed from Belgium. With her death drenched in mystery, Elise was also the seventh foreigner to die in strange circumstances on the notorious Koh Tao island. Found dead and half eaten by lizards in the midst of the jungle, police claimed she had committed suicide. However, with her family fiercely denying that she would ever take her own life, a number of strange and bizarre stories have arisen in accordance to her death. In fact, it was said that Elise had been planning a return to Belgium within the next few days and had even started the journey by way of island hopping beforehand. However, it was later discovered that Elise had checked into a hostel under a fake name with the hostel in question burning down that same night. Fleeing the scene Elise was spotted checking into another hostel before her untimely death soon after. With no sign of a suicide note, Elise’s parents are convinced that someone else was to blame for the death of their beloved daughter.
10. Nick Pearson
In Thailand for New Year’s Eve while visiting his brother, Nick Pearson and the rest of his family decided to spend the evening celebrating. However, when he failed to answer the door to his parents the next morning, Nick’s mother began to panic. Soon after, Nick’s body was found by scuba divers in the surrounding waters, having fallen from a 50ft drop. Yet despite such a severe fall, Nick’s body was said to have had no broken bones or signs of injury through falling. Initially treated as being suspicious by police, Nick’s death was later deemed too impossible to figure out what had actually happened and was neatly swept under the rug. Adamant that foul play had occurred, Nick’s parents are continually fighting to uncover the truth with regards to their son’s death.
9. Wendy Albano
Found murdered in her Bangkok hotel room in 2012, American businesswoman Wendy Albano had been stabbed and strangled to death on the bathroom floor. Making headlines all over the world police centred on an Indian business associate of Albano’s who had fled immediately after her death. In fact, Albano’s family told newspapers and the police that she had met the man in question on an earlier business trip and that the two were business partners who were working on launching a design and fashion accessory import business. Managing to escape capture for two years, the man was finally arrested in India in 2014 but is still awaiting charges.
8. Hannah Witheridge & David Miller
Probably one of the most famous killings and the most recent, the murder of backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller shocked the world. Only meeting one another by chance David and Hannah entered each other’s lives while staying in adjoining rooms on the ‘death island’ Koh Tao. However, one night while heading back towards their rented bungalows on the beach, Hannah and David were attacked and brutally murdered. Hannah, who was also raped, was said to have had severe head wounds with David also showing signs of a blow to the head and water in his lungs. What followed was an amateur investigation soaked in corruption and suspicious activity with regards to the police and those who had been arrested for the crime. With the murders still shrouded in mystery today despite the supposed killers being caught, we may never know what actually happened to the two innocent young adults that night.
7. Troy Pilkington
Originally from the USA 51-year-old, Troy Pilkington had been living in Thailand for four years before getting involved in a fight with a taxi driver that ended up killing him. Captured via video footage from a surveillance camera in the middle of Bangkok, an argument had broken out between Pilkington and the driver due to an unpaid bill of just $2. The footage shows the driver waving a machete at Pilkington who is then seen attempting to grab the driver and his weapon. The driver then kills Pilkington off camera before returning to his taxi and fleeing the scene. Later arrested for murder the driver was swiftly charged and will most likely be sentenced to death.
6. Luke Miller
Like many before him, backpacker Luke Miller travelled to Thailand in hope of sandy beaches and crisp clear waters. Arriving in December 2015 Luke was found dead at the bottom of a pool just 3 weeks later. Initially believed to have been involved in a scuffle at a nearby bar, police first began treating the death as a murder case. However, suddenly changing their minds police then informed Luke’s family that he had drowned through no fault of his own. Bewildered at the sudden change of direction Luke’s mother suspected the police were covering something up, especially as the death occurred on the notorious island of Koh Tao. However, despite a post-mortem depicting small bruises and wounds on Luke’s face and legs, police concluded that he had died as a result of drowning.
5. Christina Annesley
23-year-old aspiring writer Christina Annesley was backpacking around Thailand before finding herself on the notorious ‘death island’ Koh Tao in 2015. However, just days after posting photos declaring her love for the island, Christina was found dead with police pointing towards natural causes. Said to have mixed antibiotics, which she had tweeted about before her death, with alcohol, police claimed that the mixture had resulted in her death. Dubious of the authorities especially with regards to the island’s previous history, Christina’s parents slammed police for not carrying out a toxicology report as well as failing to investigate the death more seriously. The truth of her death will most likely be lost forever.
4. Audrey and Noémi Bélanger
Found dead in their Thai hotel room in 2012 Audrey and Noémi Bélanger had originally come to Thailand on vacation from their homeland of Quebec, Canada. With authorities quick to point towards drugs as the sole cause of their deaths the victim’s father quickly spoke out with regards to his two daughters claiming that no proof was ever recorded of such accusations. Claiming, “if there had been the slightest hint of an overdose that Thailand could have pointed to, they would have. But they were not able to prove it. … We knew our daughters were not drug users” the family continued to find out the truth, pushing police into finding the real answer. Two years later it was then revealed that the two sisters were poisoned by a mixture used to kill bed bugs, an idea that caused numerous theories of murder to arise.
3. Dimitri Povse
Again occurring on the dangerous island of Koh Tao, French man Dimitri Povse was found hanging from the ceiling of his bungalow. With police quick to call it a suicide despite the fact that Dimitri had his hands tied behind his back, authorities also claimed that there had been no sign of a struggle or fight. To back up their claim further a suicide note was left on the bed that stated, “Iris, I love you. Suicide seems easy but it is actually difficult.” However, there was still a debate all over social media as bloggers have been quick to point out the suspicious circumstances that surround the supposed suicide.
2. Valentina Novozhyonov
Disappearing in early 2017 Russian tourist Valentina Novozhenova vanished into thin air while touring the ‘death island’ Koh Tao. Strangely deciding to wait a lengthy two weeks before conducting their search, Thai police were said to be unmotivated and unconcerned with regards to the 23-year-old’s disappearance. A keen diver, it was also insinuated by authorities that Valentina may have gone swimming in open waters, something that is vehemently denied by her friends and family who claim Valentina would never have put herself in a position of danger. Things then suddenly took a stranger turn when marine life was mistaken for human remains with Thai police announcing they had found her body only to later retract the statement. To this day Valentina has yet to be found with her disappearance soaked in suspicion.
1. Ben Harrington
Much in the same vein as the other deaths, the death of Ben Harrington has sparked a number of theories with regards to what really happened to the 32-year-old English backpacker. Killed while riding his motorcycle on the notorious Koh Tao island in 2012, it was said that Ben died as a result of a broken neck, despite there being no evidence of a break in that area. Plus with it revealed that his wallet had also been taken as well as evidence of a potential mugging, Ben’s family suspected foul play and began pushing Thai police for a proper investigation as well as an explanation. However, despite being continually ignored Ben’s family continue to fight for justice and for the truth to one day be revealed.
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