The identities of two U.K. tourists killed in Thailand have been released, and authorities claim they have several suspects in custody.
According to BBC News, British citizens David Miller, 24, from Jersey, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk, were slain on an idyllic beach of Koh Tao Island in southern Thailand, a destination that has long been popular with tourists for backpacking and diving.
As reported by The Inquisitr, the brutalized bodies of the young people were discovered Monday, not far from where a beach party took place on Sunday night. The suspected murder weapon, an ordinary gardening hoe, was found close to the crime scene. The two UK tourists were left laying half-naked on the sand, and it is suspected that Witheridge may have been raped.
In a report by news.com.au, Thailand police have taken three Burmese migrant workers into custody for questioning. DNA samples have been taken from the suspects to see if there’s a match with the blood on the murder weapon and, if indeed Witheridge was sexually assaulted, determine which of the men may have raped her. The bodies of Miller and Witheridge are expected to be taken to Bangkok for forensic tests.
According to police, the Burmese men were picked up because they had been spotted drinking not far from the murder scene, before the tourists’ bodies were found. The workers had been spotted by both witnesses and caught on surveillance cameras.
There are also reports that another U.K. tourist, who may have had contact with the victims, was questioned by authorities and released, but now investigators want to talk to him once more. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
The U.K. Foreign Office has issued a statement, saying, “The embassy are urgently seeking information from the local authorities and consular staff stand ready to provide assistance to friends and family at this tragic time.”
Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand in London mobilized quickly to establish damage control and salvage the vital industry for the country, claiming that the killing was “out of character” for Koh Tao Island and an “isolated incident.”
Those words may ring false in the ears of many potential visitors, however; since 2009, 11 U.K. tourists have been killed in Thailand. In fact, for some time there has been a warning on the British Embassy website regarding the high rate of tourist attacks in the island chain of which Koh Tao is a part.
[Image via BBC News]