Police have launched a search operation after a young Russian woman went missing on a dream trip to a notorious Thai holiday island.
Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, had been staying on idyllic Koh Tao – where British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found dead in 2014 – since February 11.
The stunning Russian was due to check out of her hotel on February 16 but failed to return her key to the reception and staff assumed she had simply carried on travelling around Thailand.
But after family in Russian had not heard from her for more than two weeks they contacted Thai authorities to trace her.
Sitthiporn Pathaweesrisutha, owner of the Koh Tao Hostel where Valentina had been staying, finally alerted police on Friday to say the woman had disappeared.
He told officers they had found her passport, mobile phone, camera with several pictures, clothes and other accessories still inside her room.
Pol Lt Col Napa Senathip, who is leading the investigation, said they were now retracing Valentina’s last steps to find out what had happened.
He said: ‘’The hotel has supplied us with a list of people staying there at the same time as Valentina Novozhyonova. We are looking into each person and what information they could have.
‘’We are checking CCTV from buildings and have spoken to local shops and spoken to any witnesses.’’
Pol Lt Col Napa said Valentina arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Fenruary 7 and stayed in the Thai capital before travelling to the popular island.
He said they were also looking in Valentina’s phone records and the pictures on her camera for clues.
Valentina is 5’6’’ tall with light brown hair with some blonde highlights. She has a distinctive V initial tattooed on her left wrist.
The disappearance comes some two years after British backpackers Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found murdered on the island in September 2014.
Hannah had been raped before both were savagely beaten with a garden hoe as they walked on a beach to their hotel rooms.
Burmese migrants Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo last week lost an appeal against their convictions for the murders amid suspicions they may have been made scapegoats by Thai authorities.