DEET identified as killer
KRABI, 19 October 2012: Krabi police confirmed DEET, a neurotoxic mosquito repellent, caused the deaths of Canadian sisters, Audrey and Noemi Belanger.
Krabi Police Lieutenant, Vitsawa Saneha, who was the case investigation head told TTR Weekly that according to an official autopsy, late last month, the chemical DEET was responsible for the deaths of the sisters.
“The autopsy indicated there were traces of DEET in their bodies and it was the cause of death.”
However, he did not reveal details other than to confirm the cause of death that has been the subject of speculation with contradictory statements made in Thailand and Canada.
Information on the internet suggests the overuse of DEET, which is applied to the skin to repel mosquitoes, can cause seizures, but only four deaths have been reported.
“We cannot estimate where and how they got it,” the police investigator said. He also denied that DEET is sold and mixed in alcoholic drinks on Phi Phi island located in South Thailand in Krabi province.
“The mosquito repellent could be mixed with a cocktail as news reports suggested, but we have not found any cases of that happening on the island.”
Earlier news reports suggested DEET, a neurotoxic mosquito repellent, was used as an ingredient in a euphoria-inducing cocktail that is popular among youth in Thailand. The drink contains cough syrup, Coke, DEET and ground up kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) leaves, which are a mild narcotic indigenous to Thailand.
Police have been ordered to patrol entertainment spots on the popular island to check if illegal drinks are being served at pubs.
Meanwhile, Krabi Tourism Association president, Ittirit Kinglek. said the report on the cause of death brings closure and it was now important to rebuild confidence in the island.
“Currently, police and related authorities in Krabi are checking all entertainment venues to increase safety and ensure there are no illegal substances being sold.”
Since the deaths of the two sisters, Noemi Belanger, 25, and Audrey Belanger, 20, travel bookings to the island declined.
“The task now is to ensure travel companies know the truth and can recommend travel once more to the island,” he said.
The two sisters were found dead in their room at Palm Residence Hotel on Ao Nang in Muang district in Krabi, 15 June, and it was speculated that poisoning, probably accidental, played a role. Police said they found no signs of foul play.