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Local tour guides on the Malaysian island of Tiomen, where 34 British Backpacker Gareth Huntley went missing on May 27th have claimed that his throat had been slit.
Police confirmed on Saturday that the body found by a pond on Wednesday was that of Gareth Huntley, the grim discovery was made only a few yards from a kayak storage unit near the Juara Turtle Project where he had been a volunteer.
The accountant was on a sabbatical from his job in the city had set off from the sanctuary on May the 27th for a trek to a waterfall some six kilometers away, he never returned. His friends soon launched a social media campaign to encourage local authorities to stage a man hunt and hoped that he would be found alive.
“There are no words that can capture the devastation we feel right now; no words that can capture the kindness, warmth and spirit that Gareth exuded; no words can describe the void he will leave in all of the lives he touched,” they said.
Mohammad Zakaria Ahmad, the senior police official heading the investigation in Malaysia, confirmed he was investigating reports of a fight involving Mr Huntley. He went on to say that he believed the claims were just rumors but authorities were looking into them.
Ab Razib Ali Awang, the village chief said that most of the locals believed that something bad had happened to the backpacker. A tour guide on the island, who asked not to be named, said: “Some of the beach chalet owners have been told by police that his throat had been cut.”
Mr Huntley’s body was flown to Kuantan for a post-mortem but, as the corpse was badly decomposed, the cause of death is not yet known. A second opinion has been sought from another pathologist, with hopes that an answer can be established next week.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “Malaysian police have now confirmed that the body found on Tioman Island is of Gareth Huntley.
“The Foreign Office will remain in close contact with the Malaysian authorities and our staff continue to support Gareth’s family at this tragic time.”