According to Cambodian police, the body of British backpacker Amelia Bambridge has been located at sea more than 30 miles from where she disappeared. The 21-year-old student from Worthing, West Sussex, was spending her gap year abroad. She went missing last Thursday morning after going to a beach party on the island of Koh Rong, a popular tourist spot. Her body was discovered in the sea near the Thai border, police said.
Chuon Narin, the police chief of Preah Sihanouk province, announced that they had found the body of the missing British woman, saying she would be taken to nearby Sihanoukville, though he refused to speculate on the circumstances surrounding her death. Bambridge’s family, who had traveled to the island to help with search efforts, were on hand to identify the body. Her brother Harry wrote on Facebook, “I’ve just seen her and I can confirm it’s my little sister Amelia.”
Police, who had suspected that Bambridge may have drowned, centered their search on the coast and sea after the young woman’s backpack, which contained her purse, phone and bank cards, was discovered on the beach in the vicinity of where she had been last seen.
This was the first time Bambridge had traveled on her own. She was last seen at the party on Koh Rong island at approximately 3 am on October 24. A search party, comprised of more than 100 people, including police officers and members of the military, was launched when she failed to check out of her hostel later that day. Additionally, six men, who worked in local restaurants and hotels, were questioned by police in connection with the disappearance but were eventually released.
The Bambridge family was offered support by The Lucie Blackman Trust, an organization founded after the brutal murder in Japan of Lucie Blackman in 2000 by serial rapist Kim Sung Jong, which provides services to British nationals with a missing or dead loved abroad. “We are aware of the very tragic news from Cambodia. Amelia Bambridge’s body has been found at sea. We are assisting her family. Please respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time,” the organization tweeted.
Peter Kyle, the MP for Hove and Portslade, also tweeted: “I’m desperately sad to hear the news that Amelia Bambridge lost her life in Cambodia. I’ve been in touch with her family via friends in recent days, and spoke to the foreign secretary about support for them just yesterday.”
After going to Cambodia to help with the search, Bambridge’s family criticized the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for their lack of support.