Varvara Namestnikova said she was satisfied after getting a briefing from Surat Thani Police Chief Maj Gen Apichart Boonsrirote on the search operation yesterday (Mar 12), but was still relying on police efforts to find her 23-year-old daughter, Valentina Novozhyonova.
Police showed her CCTV footage of her daughter for the last time on Feb 15 and took her to all the places Ms Novozhyonova went to on the island before she disappeared.
“Authorities are still carrying out their search until they know the reason as to why she went missing or until they find her,” Maj Gen Apichart told the woman.
Mrs Namestnikova lived separately with her daughter. She learned about the disappearance from a friend of her daughter in Russia and came to Koh Tao in Koh Pha Ngan district on Saturday (Mar 11) with relatives.
The Russian holidaymaker was reported missing to police on March 4 after she did not check out at Koh Tao Hostel on Feb 16. She had visited the island for diving.
Police believe the tourist went missing while going diving but did not rule out other possibilities.
Their prime suspect location is still Chalok Ban Kao Bay and also View Point Cape.
Divers resumed their search yesterday at the two locations by diving side by side from seven metres to 17 metres deep but have not found additional evidence.
Also at a briefing held on Saturday, Ms Novozhyonova’s mother was quoted as saying her daughter had limited diving skills and also suffered from chronic illnesses that would bar her from the activity.
Relatives told police that Ms Novozhyonova had taken diving lessons in Russia for four years but only in swimming pools. She never dived in the sea.
Lt Col Chokechai Sutthimek, Superintendent of Koh Tao Police Station, quoted the mother as saying that Ms Novozhyonova loved nature, diving and forest trekking. She believed that her daughter had visited Koh Tao to go diving.
“Ms Novozhyonova had as many as four illnesses that disqualify people from diving,” Lt Col Chokechai said.
“She had asthma, epilepsy, depression and anxiety disorder and always depended on medications.”
Ms Novozhyonova posted on VK, a popular Russian social network, that her regular medications were running out and she had to buy more in Bangkok, the officer said.
On Friday (Mar 10), searchers recovered human tissue and bone fragments and sent them for forensic tests in Bangkok to see if they are a match for the missing woman. Other evidence retrieved by a search team of divers included a pair of dive goggles, a goggle strap and a green vest.
Nine divers joined the search party scouring the seabed stretching a kilometre from Chalok Bankao Bay to the View Point Resort cape. The water where the evidence was located was four to five metres deep and about 400m from shore.
Forensic specialists in Bangkok will need about a week to confirm whether they match DNA samples collected from the Koh Tao Hostel where Ms Novozhyonova stayed in the Chalok Bankao area.
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