Cambodian official says British backpacker died of drowning

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — An autopsy has determined that a British backpacker whose body was found at sea a week after she disappeared on a Cambodian island had died from drowning, an official said Friday.

Kuoch Chamroeun, the governor of Preah Sihanouk province, said by phone that the body of Amelia Bambridge was examined at the main hospital in Sihanoukville, the coastal city to which it was taken after being retrieved Thursday from the Gulf of Thailand.

The 21-year-old woman disappeared after attending a beach party late on the night of Oct. 23 on the island of Koh Rong. Her body was discovered by fishermen about 60 miles (100 kilometers) to the northwest.

Maj. Gen. Chuon Narin, the provincial police chief, said earlier Friday that the autopsy would be attended by forensic police, a hospital doctor, a court prosecutor, a representative of the British embassy and members of Bambridge’s family.

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Before the body was found, Bambridge’s family had speculated that she might have been abducted or become lost in the heavy jungle in Koh Rong’s interior, but Cambodian officials had leaned toward the theory that she had drowned because her bag with money and a cellphone was found on a rock near the edge of the ocean.

The victim’s brother, Harry Bambridge, viewed the body Thursday and in a message posted on his Facebook page confirmed it was his sister.

Kuoch Chamrouen said the Bambridge family and the British embassy had told Preah Sihanouk authorities that they wished to take the body to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, and then have it sent to Britain.

The governor said he did not oppose the request and the body would be released.

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