NEWS

Autopsy performed in Hamilton on body returned from Vietnam

08/12/2012 06:46 EDT | Updated 10/12/2012 05:12 EDT
An autopsy was performed at Hamilton General Saturday on local resident Cathy Huynh, who died suddenly while vacationing in Vietnam.

Officials say it could take weeks for any answers regarding her death to surface.

“I told the family we can’t promise anything,” regional coroner Dr. Jack Stanborough told CBC Hamilton. “But we’re doing everything we can.”

Huynh, a 26-year-old Hamilton native, was visiting Vietnam when she died of respiratory failure in the central resort city of Nha Trang. Her traveling companion, 27-year-old American Karin Joy Bowerman, also died.

Test results taken from the body could take up to 40 days to come back.

Because Stanborough’s office has no jurisdiction in Vietnam, finding a cause of death is much more difficult than usual.

“We’re really hoping to get some information from Vietnam, but honestly, that’s up in the air,” he said. “I do know that an autopsy was not done in Vietnam at the request of the family.”

Stanborough said when two people share such a quick, similar demise, it’s usually because of infectious disease or something toxic.

But until the results come back, he can’t be sure.

“I really hope we can figure this out. The whole reason to do this is to get an answer and put the pieces together.”

Canadian consular officials in Ho Chi Minh City are in contact with local authorities and gathering information, said Jean-Francois Lacelle, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian citizen who passed away in that country,” he said.

Huynh and Bowerman were sharing a room in a guesthouse. They both taught English in South Korea.

Tuoi Tre News reported that Huynh was born and raised in Canada and attended university for political science.

With files from the Associated Press

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