PHUKET, Thailand - Officials were trying to determine the cause of the mysterious deaths of two Quebec sisters who were found in a hotel room in a popular tourist destination in Thailand.
However, Thailand police said Sunday that it did not appear that the two were murdered.
Police Lt. Col. Jongrak Pimthong said there was no sign of a homicide, noting the door of their hotel room had been chained from the inside and the sister's belongings were still there.
Audrey Belanger, 20, and Noemi Belanger, 26, were both of Pohenegamook in eastern Quebec, near the border with Maine, according to a cousin reached by phone.
He said the pair studied in Quebec City with their eldest sister, but worked at the family store in the community of roughly 3,000. The cousin, who didn’t want his name used, said word of the sisters’ death had rocked the close-knit community.
“Everyone knows each other here,” he said.
The bodies of the sisters were taken from the Phi Phi Islands to a hospital in Krabi, on the coast of the Andaman sea.
A nurse reached by The Canadian Press at the hospital said a doctor had examined the bodies but did not notice any abnormalities, and that an autopsy would be necessary.
The Phuket Gazette quoted a spokesman with the Phi Phi Island police saying they received a report Friday night about two tourists’ bodies being found in a room.
The Gazette said the sisters checked in to the Phi Phi Palms hotel Tuesday.
The newspaper reported on its website that the two went out that night but stayed in their room all day Wednesday. Apparently by Friday, hotel staff became concerned and went into their room to check.
Poisoning is suspected in the deaths but tests are being done to try to determine the cause of death. The Manager newspaper website quoted police Lt. Col. Rat Somboon as saying the women had probably been dead more than 12 hours when their bodies were discovered Friday with vomit and other signs of a toxic reaction.
The island has a reputation for a party destination with a lively nightlife.
In a similar case in May 2009, an American woman and a Norwegian woman died after suffering severe vomiting and dehydration at a Phi Phi guesthouse. The cause of death was never determined.
Foreign Affairs confirmed the deaths but did not release any names. A spokesperson said consular officials have been in touch with local authorities.
The cousin said the women’s parents were notified while visiting their other daughter in Quebec City.
The tragic news then trickled back to the Marche Bonichoix, the family store where the sisters worked, an employee said, but would not comment further for fear of upsetting the family.
Messages posted on Noemi Belanger’s Facebook page earlier wished the young woman and her sister a great trip and told both to take care of themselves.
Timeline: Canadians Killed Or Injured In Mexico
Mexico has long been a popular destination for Canadians who love warm weather and sandy beaches. Every year, approximately 1.5 million Canadians travel to the Spanish-speaking country. However, dozens of Canadians have been killed or injured while visiting Mexico in the last few years.
Dominic And Nancy Ianiero
Feb. 20, 2006: Woodbridge, Ont., couple <a href="http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=dominic nancy ianiero&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ctv.ca%2FCTVNews%2FSpecials%2F20060310%2Ftimeline_ianiero_060310%2F&ei=58IdT9T-FIXogQfrs6y3Cg&usg=AFQjCNHMFxtsNZUAC2Ic7jSHl8ArFTgfXw" target="_hplink">Dominic and Nancy Ianiero </a>were found dead in a resort near Playa del Carmen. Both Dominic, 59, and Nancy, 55, were discovered with slashed throats. The couple was in Mexico to attend their daughter's wedding. (photo: CP PHOTO/Nathan Denette)
Jan. 8, 2007: The following year, another person from Woodbridge, Ont. was killed in Mexico. <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/CTVNewsAt11/20070111/mexico_folo_070111/" target="_hplink">Adam DePrisco</a>, 19, was the victim of a hit-and-run according to local police. But his relatives said the teen was beaten outside of a nightclub. (photo: AP Photo/Gonzalo Perez)
Jan. 17, 2007: Another Canadian was killed in Mexico less than two weeks after the death of DePrisco.<a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/CTVNewsAt11/20070127/glasier_funeral_070127/" target="_hplink"> Clifford Glasier</a> from Chatham, Ont., was killed by a hit-and-run accident in Guadalajara, the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco. He died of injuries sustained from the accident.
May 6, 2007: Mexican authorities said that Alberta native <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20070508/cancun_attack_070509/" target="_hplink">Jeff Toews</a> sustained his injuries after he fell from a balcony of the resort he was staying at. However, Toews family believed Jeff was beaten. The 34 year old was left clinically brain dead following the incident. (photo credit: CP)
Christopher James Morin
Nov. 27, 2007: Authorities claimed that <a href="http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=045b054c-2344-4821-bffc-45b2d7795c9a&k=61315" target="_hplink">Christopher James Morin</a>, a 30 year old from Alberta, likely committed suicide in Cancun. But his girlfriend and family members said it was unlikely that Morin killed himself. He fell from a four-storey balcony and died from head trauma.
May 15, 2008: <a href="http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/1830--another-canadian-tourist-killed-in-mexico" target="_hplink">Bouabal Bounthavorn</a>, a 29-year-old British Columbia resident, was shot three times in his Cabo San Lucas hotel by three men. Bounthavorn's girlfriend was also shot, but she survived the incident. Police believe the Vancouver-area resident was the victim of a botched robbery.
Sept. 19, 2009: The body of a Montreal woman was found in an apartment in Isle Mujeres, an island near Cancun. Police said <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/renee-wathelets-last-words/article1293616/" target="_hplink">Renee Wathelet</a> was stabbed more than a dozen times. (photo credit: CP)
June 9, 2010: <a href="http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100614/100614_mexico?hub=CP24Home" target="_hplink">Kenneth Klowak</a>, a 43-year-old man from Ontario, was travelling in Mexico, near the Texas-Mexico border, when gunmen reportedly intercepted Klowak and the group he was driving with. He was killed by the gunmen after the group refused to stop.
Giannina Di Roberto
Sept. 10, 2010: <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20100912/mexico-fall-100912/" target="_hplink">Giannina Di Roberto</a>, a 19-year-old woman from Ontario, was travelling with her boyfriend in Cancun when she fell from the seventh floor of a hotel.
Oct. 30, 2010: <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/883701" target="_hplink">Daniel Dion</a>, an Ottawa-area man in his 50s, was found dead near Acapulco, inside the trunk of a rental car. He was on a business trip to sell purses made from recycled material and disappeared on Oct. 22. (photo credit: CP)
Explosion At The Grand Princess Riviera Hotel
Nov. 14, 2010: Just a few weeks before winter break, <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/01/24/f-mexico-grand-riviera-princess--hotel-explosion-background.html" target="_hplink">an explosion at a resort in Cancun</a> claimed the lives of five Canadians. Mexican officials suggested the explosion could have been caused by gas buildup from a nearby swamp. (photo credit: CP)
Joel St. Tierre
May 3, 2011: <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/05/12/canadian-killed-mexico.html" target="_hplink">Joel St. Tierre</a>, the owner of an air conditioning company, was shot in the head in Mexico City.
Leonard Francis Schell
May 30, 2011: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/06/08/leonard-francis-schell-canadian-mexico-stabbed-to-death_n_873344.html" target="_hplink">A satellite TV installer was found dead at home</a> by his Mexican wife. According to a local report, Elba Ruiz Castro found a trail of blood leading to her house on her way back. She found Leonard Francis Schell's body inside their home. According to reports he was stabbed 25 times. (photo credit: CP)
Judith Zena Baylis
June 27, 2011: <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/07/02/canadian-killed-mexico-san-miguel.html" target="_hplink">Judith Zena Baylis</a>, a 64-year-old woman from Ottawa, was found dead inside her home in Atotonilco (a suburb of San Miguel). She was reportedly stabbed about 20 times.
Dec. 13, 2011: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/06/ximena-osegueda-student-dead-mexico_n_1188255.html" target="_hplink">Ximena Osegueda</a>, a Canadian citizen who was born in Mexico, went missing in December. Osegueda's brother found her body in the bushes near a beach in Huatulco.
Jan. 3 2012: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/03/robin-wood-salt-spring-island-bc-senior_n_1182322.html" target="_hplink">Robin Wood</a> from Salt Spring Island, B.C. was shot and killed after he confronted two robbers who were trying to break into his friend's house. The 67-year-old retiree was staying in Melaque, approximately 200 kilometres from Puerto Vallarta.
Salih Abdulaziz Sahbaz
Jan. 15, 2012: A Canadian citizen originally from Iraq was shot and killed in the city of Culiacan. According to reports, <a href="http://www.vancouversun.com/news/gang+cartel+contact+gunned+down+Mexico/6013177/story.html" target="_hplink">Salih Abdulaziz Sahbaz</a> was carrying both a current and an expired Canadian passport. There are media reports that Sahbaz was involved with the United Nations gang in the Vancouver area. (photo credit: CP)
Jan. 22, 2012: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/23/sheila-nabb-of-calgary-mexico-beating_n_1224026.html" target="_hplink">Sheila Nabb</a> of Calgary was found beaten inside a luxury Mexican hotel. Nabb's uncle told QMI Agency that his niece was in a medically induced coma and that she had multiple broken bones. (photo credit: Facebook)