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Saturday, June 6, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Seattle woman dies during Thailand stay

By Jocelyn Gecker And Ambika Ahuja Associated Press

BANGKOK – Two young tourists, one from Seattle and the other from Norway, have died after suddenly falling ill within hours of each other last weekend at the same guesthouse in southern Thailand.

Thai police said Thursday they did not know the women’s causes of death.

Both were staying on Koh Phi Phi, a popular island destination for budget travelers. Theories include food or alcohol poisoning or toxic fumes in their bungalows, but nothing has been proved.

The American victim has been identified by her family as Jill St. Onge, 27, a bartender and artist from Seattle. She died Sunday.

Norwegian media and the Web newspaper Andaman Times, which covers southern Thailand, identified the Norwegian woman as Julie Michelle Bergheim, 22. She died Monday.

Both had been staying at the Laleena guesthouse. Another 19-year-old Norwegian woman staying with Bergheim also fell ill with the same symptoms, but survived.

“One of them was vomiting, so the guesthouse owners and one of their friends rushed her to the hospital on Phi Phi,” said police Capt. Pantanan Santhong.

“Another one later had the same symptoms. They died at the hospital. Doctors said it was due to dehydration and shock.”

“Right now, we do not have any further information on what happened and how it happened,” he said. “We are investigating.”

The bodies of both victims were taken to Bangkok for autopsies, but no results were available.

St. Onge had been on a three-month tour of Southeast Asia with her fiancé Ryan Kells, according to a blog established in her memory by her family.

Fewer details were available about Bergheim, who Norwegian media identified as coming from Drammen, near Oslo.

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