Mysterious Tourist Death Case Reexamined
A Year after the Incident, Police Charges two Foreigners with Murder

October 1st, 2009
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[private] A trial has reopened about the mysterious death of Dutch tourist Mariska Mast, 23, that took place in the early morning of August 23, 2008.

On September 22, Ji-Soo Han, 25, a South Korean citizen who was present during the incident, has been flown to Roatan after being arrested in Egypt. Han was arrested on an Interpol warrant when attempting to leave Egypt where she worked as a dive master.

Another Interpol warrant is still in place for Daniel Ross, 30, British and Australian citizen at whose apartment Mariska’s death occurred. Following the incident, Ross, a West End dive instructor, spent five days in the Roatan jail, but was eventually released. While his British passport has been retained by police, he fled the country on his other, an Australian passport.

While originally Mast’s cause of death was determined inconclusive, Fiscalia now say that Mast died due to “cranial lesion.” Numerous marks on the body implied a possible strangulation attempt or beating, and alerted the Dutch authorities who in turn put pressure on the Honduran police investigators to reexamine the case. Dutch embassy representatives and private investigators made several visits to Roatan to work on the case.

Mast went out drinking with Ross then followed him to his West End apartment, which he shared with Han. According to Ross and Han’s testimonies from 2008, sometime around 3am, Mast collapsed and hit her head on a toilet chipping her tooth. Mast’s condition deteriorated, and around 6am she was driven to the Coxen Hole hospital in the back of the landlord’s truck. Upon arrival she was pronounced dead.

The details of the case are unclear and evidence has been disturbed. Authorities are suspicious of Ross leaving the hospital and returning to the apartment where the landlady has seen him cleaning up the death scene before the police could arrive.

The local dive community and police have several possible explanations for the death: accidental death from falling down, decompression sickness mixed with alcohol, battery during an attempted rape, or rough-sex-gone-bad incident.

Implications of the case reemerging go beyond the possible prosecution of the two suspects. If Mast’s death was indeed a murder, not an accident, she would be the first tourist killed on Roatan in recent times. [/private]

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