By Emily Mertz Global News
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Nara Pech, 28, travelled to Laos in January. At first, police in Laos said he committed suicide, his family believes he was murdered. (supplied )
EDMONTON — He wanted to spend some time travelling with friends before settling down in Ontario with his fiancée.
But, 28-year-old Nara Pech – who was born in Edmonton and lived just outside of Toronto, never made it home.
After a week of travel, which included a visit to Cambodia, the two friends he was travelling with dropped Pech off at the airport in Laos before going to their hotel.
“They dropped him off as far as they could – to security,” said Pech’s fiancée Maureen Chear.
On January 22, he called his parents from the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Laos and left a voice message asking them to call the embassy.
“I’m in Laos and they’re trying to hurt me. I need help,” he said.
He left more voice messages for other family and friends, saying the situation was bad and someone was trying to kill him.
The family says they’ve been given mixed reports about his death.
Maureen Chear, Pech’s fiancée, says Foreign Affairs told them “he was detained, there was a vending machine there, he got very angry – and he’s a 150-pound man – and they said he had broken the glass on the vending machine and killed himself.”
However, a medical diagnosis revealed Pech sustained a stab wound to his right chest, right lung laceration, multiple stab wounds on his neck, neck muscle hemmorrage, external jugular vein laceration, a stab wound on the right forearm, multiple cuts on his left hand and forearm, and multiple contusion wounds on both hands and his right knee.
“I think it’s all false,” said his sister Sarena Armsworthy from her home in Edmonton.
“I think they’re trying to cover something up.”
Pech and Chear had been dating for 13 years and planned to get married in 2016.
“I was in disbelief because they told me suicide,” said Chear. “No way, you have the wrong person, absolutely the wrong person.”
She said Pech didn’t drink much or do drugs and that there was no sign of mental illness.
The family has reached out to the Department of Foreign Affairs, their MP Peter Van Loan and the RCMP for help.
“A lot of it is them saying ‘we don’t have jurisdiction,’” said Chear.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada said:
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of a Canadian Citizen who passed away in Laos. Consular officials continue to provide assistance to the family and liaise with local authorities. To protect the private and personal information of the individual concerned, further details on this case cannot be released.”
Armsworthy is frustrated with the lack of information about her brother’s death.
“With it being an international airport, there should be surveillance,” she said. “Apparently… that part of the surveillance is missing.”
Despite the emotional toll, she continues to desperately seek closure for her family.
“He’s on my mind every single day. I wake up and think about what can I do for him today and I go to sleep thinking I haven’t accomplished anything for him,” said Armsworthy.
“The only thing I can do is try and find the truth for my parents.
“Seeing them everyday and talking to them on Skype and seeing the pain they go through – I would never wish that upon anybody.”