Two friends who went backpacking across Vietnam collapsed and died within days of one another from a mystery poison.
Canadian-born Cathy Huynh, 26, who taught English in South Korea, decided to take a week-long break with her friend and fellow teacher Karin Joy Bowerman, 27, from Illinois in the United States.
While sharing a room at the Son and Daughter guesthouse in the coastal city of Nha Trang, Miss Bowerman fell ill and was taken to the Khanh Hoa Province General Hospital by her friend last Monday evening.
She did not have any apparent injuries, but was suffering from serious respiratory failure and her blood pressure had dropped to zero.
By 10.30pm that night, Miss Bowerman had died.
Two days later, Miss Huynh, who is of Vietnamese origin, was treated in the same hospital for symptoms of shock and while under intensive care, reportedly suffered several cardiac arrests.
She died in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Forensic official Pham Xuan Thong said authorities have not been able to determine the cause, but it was likely they had been poisoned.
He said samples will be analysed at the National Forensic Examination Center in Hanoi.
Authorities are co-ordinating with the U.S. and Canadian consulates in Ho Chi Minh City to investigate the case.
On Saturday, local authorities in co-ordination with the U.S. Consulate General in Vietnam completed a preliminary autopsy on Miss Bowerman but the results have not yet been announced.
According to Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre News, the woman's family have requested their daughter be cremated in Ho Chi Minh City and her ashes sent to their Illinois home.
Miss Huynh’s family have refused to have an autopsy done on her as they say the two friends died in the same way so Miss Bowerman's autopsy would be enough.
'I’m deeply saddened and mournful,' Miss Huynh's mother, Huynh Thi Huong, told Tuoi Tre News, apparently sobbing.
Mrs Huong flew in to Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat international airport from Canada at around 10:00am on Saturday to complete the paperwork to bring her daughter’s body home.
'We would like to bring her body to Canada for funeral because all my family members in Canada want to see her for the last time.'
The 57-year-old mother has blamed doctors and nurses for her daughter’s death.
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