Search for missing Russian woman, 23, in Koh Tao gains urgency

Valentina was last seen near her room between 5.40 and 6pm on Feb 15
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Police have expanded their search for Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, who went missing on Koh Tao more than two weeks ago after discovering that she was a free-diving enthusiast and possibly suffered from a mental problem.

Koh Tao police on Sunday learned from a Russian man identified only as Alexander that he had met the woman on Koh Tao as they shared an interest in free diving.

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Read – Russian tourist missing on Koh Tao for two weeks

The information corresponded with police finding that her weight belt, fins, goggles and a towel were not in her room. Police, volunteers and local leaders went to possible free diving locations of Koh Tao to try to find the blue towel as they believed that the woman might have left it where she was diving.

Pol Lt Col Napha Senathip, deputy chief of the Koh Tao police station, said on Sunday that the mobile phone of Ms Novozhyonova showed that she used the Line messaging software to seek advice from a psychiatrist. The communication indicated she had an unreasonable fear and the psychiatrist had advised her to seek help quickly.

Valentina Novozhyonova, 23, missing since Feb 15.

Police also found medication in her bag and asked a medical authority to identify it.

“She was seen near her room between 5.40 and 6pm on Feb 15. She inquired about diving and reservations for a ferry trip to Koh Samui on 3pm on Feb 16. We learned that she did not make the trip and should be on Koh Tao,” Pol Lt Col Napha said.

Surat Thani police chief Pol Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj said police asked locals, tourists and volunteers to look for traces of the woman near boulders, dive sites and marine areas and contacted 11 free diving firms and divers’ ferry services but had not uncovered any clues.

“Police are checking local surveillance camera footage especially from 6pm of Feb 15. We have not seen the person anywhere. So we cannot confirm whether she is still alive or not. We cannot conclude a cause of the disappearance until we have a clue,” Pol Maj Gen Apichart said.

-The Bangkok Post

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