The mother of a backpacker who was found dead on Thailand’s notorious ‘murder island’ has revealed she does not believe the police accounts of what happened.
30-year-old Elise Dallemange, was found dead on the island of Koh Tao – which is popular with British backpackers.
It’s the same island that has claimed the lives of six other travellers over the last three years.
Elise was found in the jungle, having been half-eaten by lizards, just eight days after she revealed that she was returning home to her native Belgium.
Thai police have claimed that Elise hung herself but her devastated mother does not believe them, and thinks somebody else was involved, according to the Mirror.
Elise had been living at a yoga retreat, which neighboured the party island of Koh Phangan, in between travelling round Asia, for two years.
The 30-year-old was believed to be part of the Sathya Sai Baba cult movement, and lived with a self-proclaimed ‘guru’.
She left the island in April this year to return home.
Her mother, Michelle van Egten has stated she does not believe the Thai police and their explanation of Elise committing suicide.
I do not believe what the police have told us – we fear somebody else was involved.
We’re more and more thinking that the police information is not the right explanation.
She was normal in the last conversation and no signs of depression were visible.
Michelle has revealed that the results of an autopsy – that were promised – have still not been delivered.
Police told her that Elise had committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree around three days before she was found, despite no note or message being recovered.
Michelle also revealed that she had never been shown pictures of her daughter hanging from the tree, despite it being normal practice for officers and rescue workers to photograph the scene.
Elise’s phone records show she called her mother on Skype on April 17 before leaving on a Ferry two days later – but it’s not known why she alighted on Koh Tao instead of continuing on to the mainland.
Her mother claims that Elise used a fake name to check into bungalows on Koh Tao as she travelled via the island on a ferry bound for Chumphon province on her route back to the capital, Bangkok.
However an unexplained fire that night burned down three bamboo huts – including the one Elise had been staying in – before she fled 2.5km through the jungle to Tanote Bay.
Once arriving in Tanote Bay, Elise booked another ticket for Bangkok, which left on April 24.
Locals became suspicious of a monitor lizard going back and fourth into the jungle and it was then that they discovered Elise’s half-eaten body on May 27.
Mysteriously, Elise’s bags appear to have been loaded onto the ferry she was due to take and they arrived at Chumphon province – where she should have caught a bus to the capital.
Michele said police told her that Elise had been wrapped in old t-shirts or cotton shawls while an empty fuel bottle was found next to her.
An autopsy was performed in Surat Thani Hospital and later by the Institute of Forensic Medicine Police Hospital in Bangkok, before Elise was cremated 14 days later.
Initially, Elise had to be identified by her dental records and previous x-rays.
Elise’s mother continued:
Too many things show us that someone is involved – Police told us that Elise hanged herself up in the jungle but I cannot accept why my daughter should have killed herself.
I don’t know why she would have booked a transfer to Bangkok and then went into the jungle to commit suicide.
I am devastated by events – I am still waiting for the final autopsy report,…we just want more information.
Michelle is now working with a German investigator to trace locals who discovered Elise’s corpse to confirm where she was hanging.
She is also looking for answers from the German cult guru Raaman Andreas, whom she claims left the island of Koh Phangan when she visited in May in order to retrace her daughters footsteps.
We were told by police in Koh Tao that they have no jurisdiction on the neighbouring island Koh Phangan, so a lot of questions have not been investigated.
Hopefully she will get the answers she desires and her daughter’s memory deserves.