Deaths of Canadian women in Thailand share similarities to West Seattle woman's death

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SEATTLE —

The deaths of two Canadian women in Thailand have striking similarities to the way a West Seattle woman died in 2009, and her one-time fiance told KIRO 7 on Tuesday he’s still looking for answers.

Ryan Kells said it would be nice to have some closure in the death of Jill St. Onge and to learn whether a tragedy like her death could be prevented in the future.

“It opened up a bunch of old wounds,” Kells said of the news that the two Canadian women had died. “I thought exactly what happened to Jill could have happened to them.”

The women all died on the same island. They suffered from vomiting, and their fingers and toes turned blue.

“There’s too many similarities there,” Kells said.

A Thai doctor suspects the Canadians died of food poisoning. The same theory was offered when St. Onge died.

But Kells said that doesn’t make sense. He said he experienced the same symptoms and later learned that two women in the room next door also got sick and one of them also died.

“To me, it just screamed that something was in the room,” he said. “We didn’t know these two girls, we didn’t have dinner with them, we had never met them before.”

Kells said he thinks toxic fumes from a malfunctioning sewage plant next door to his guesthouse may have played a role. But when authorities checked the air conditioners in his room, he said the filters were missing and couldn’t be tested.

Another theory was that St. Onge’s death could have been caused by a pesticide used to kill bed bugs, but an autopsy could not confirm what killed her.

“It’s just been really disheartening,” Kells said. “There’s no closure. To not even know how someone died in a foreign country is unfair.”

Kells said that after losing his fiancée, he trained as an emergency medical technician to see if there was something he could have done to help St. Onge. He’s since learned that he couldn’t have done anything.