Koh Tao ‘death island’ mystery deepens as ‘healthy’ dad becomes TENTH Westerner to die in suspicious circumstances

German Bernd Grotsch's body was found at his home deep in the jungle in the Mae Haad part of Koh Tao.

He had recently returned to the island after building up a motorbike rental business over the past two decades.

The father-of-one’s family in Ingolstadt, Germany, said authorities told them he died of “heart failure” or had been “bitten by a snake” – but they don't believe a word of it.

They claim they have still not received an autopsy report and say his body was sent against their wishes to the same Bangkok hospital that carried out botched reports on the bodies of two Brits murdered on the same island in 2014.

International experts slammed the DNA testing done by the hospital at the time – amid claims it was tampered with in order to scapegoat two Burmese workers currently on death row over the killings.

Bernd's cousin Christina said: ''We cannot accept what the Thai authorities on the island are telling us.

"There has still not been an autopsy report provided to us.

"There is no explanation for Bernd's death. He was fit, healthy and happy.

"We are furious that we have not been able to have an approved independent forensic examination."

Bernd, a wealthy entrepreneur, moved to the island two decades ago, buying two properties and building up a motorbike rental business.

But he left in 2016 after becoming frustrated with the corruption and hostility towards foreign business owners.

He started another business in neighbouring island Koh Phayam before returning in March to "tie up loose ends".

Bernd had also recently separated from his wife, Oey, a Koh Tao native, with whom he had a seven-year-old daughter, Bene, who had been living for the last two years with his sister, Monica, in Germany.

The family claim the circumstances surrounding his death and the local police's refusal to co-operate with the have led them to believe the death is "suspicious".

Thai 'death island's bloody role call of victims

Nick Pearson, 25, was found floating in an island bay, at the foot of a 50ft drop on New Year’s Day 2014.

Despite claims of a fall, he had no broken bones. While police ruled out foul play, Nick's family, who say officers did not investigate a single witness, believe he was murdered.

Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk and David Miller, 24, of Jersey were bludgeoned to death with a wooden hoe as they walked back to their hotel room late at night.

Hannah was also raped in the attack in September 2014.

Frenchman Dimitri Povse, 29, was found hanged in a bungalow on the island on New Year's Day 2015.

His death was ruled as suicide but police could not explain why his hands were tied behind his back.

Later that month, graduate Christina Annesley, 23, was said to have died of natural causes after mixing antibiotics she was taking for a chest infection with alcohol. However, no toxicology report was conducted.

In March 2015 Russian tourist Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, vanished from her hostel on Koh Tao in mid-February – sparking a police search.

She had checked into the hostel on February 11 and was due to check out on February 16 – but failed to do so.

A few days later, staff checked her room to discover her mobile phone, passport and camera had all been left behind.

Bricklayer Luke Miller was found at the bottom of a swimming pool at the Sunset Bar at Sairee Beach in January 2016.

His family accused the Thai police of a cover-up.

Belgian backpacker Elise Dallemagne, 30, was found hanged in the hills on the island on April 28, 2017.


Christina added: ''We have tried everything to have Bernd's body returned to Germany.

"We do not trust the authorities in Thailand, especially since there are some oddities.

"To date, no autopsy results have been obtained, only vague explanations and conjectures about an alleged deadly bite by a poisonous snake.

"Or heart and circulatory failure, without further evidence.

"We cannot accept the death so long as there is an ambiguous forensic explanation.

"We were first told that his body had been returned to the mainland in Surat Thani, but when we checked the next it was still in a temple on Koh Tao.

"We pressured the German Embassy in Bangkok and the body was moved three days later.

"We wanted the respected forensic scientist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand to perform the autopsy.

"She enjoys in Thailand the reputation of an independent forensic physician.

"But in the end Bernd Grotsch's remains landed in the Institute of Forensic Medicine, the same place that performed controversial examinations on the two British murder victims.''

Bernd is the tenth known foreigner to die in suspicious circumstances on the notoriously corrupt island in recent years.

Brits Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were bludgeoned to death on the beach in September 2014.

And last year, Belgian backpacker Elise Dallemagne was found dead and half-eaten by lizards having apparently hanged herself on the island – an explanation rejected by her family.

Other unexplained deaths include Brits Ben Harrington, 32, in 2012; Nick Pearson, 25, in 2014; Luke Miller, 26, in 2016; and Christina Annesley, 23, in 2015.

Russians Dimiti Povse, 29, and Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, also died mysteriously in 2015 and 2017.

It has been claimed cops on the island are controlled by a powerful criminal family which were involved in the deaths, according to one theory.

Locals speaking on condition of anonymity revealed the gang has a vice-like grip over the island, where people are afraid to speak out, according to the Independent.

Sean McAnna, of Shotts, Lanarkshire, told The Sun in 2017 that men who overheard him discussing the killing of Hannah and David in a bar said they would make his death look like suicide.

He revealed: “They just said to me, ‘We know you killed them. You’re going to hang yourself tonight and we are going to watch you hang. You will die tonight’. So I just ran.”

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