Lebanon News

Police investigate mysterious death of woman in Sidon hotel

SIDON, Lebanon: Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a young woman whose body was discovered in the room of a hotel facing Sidon’s Sea Castle Tuesday evening, along with the murder of elderly woman in the village of Ras Baalbek, north-east of Beirut.

After the body of the young woman was reported found, police and forensics experts arrived immediately to the scene and began their investigation by speaking with the hotel management.

According to preliminary investigations, the woman was identified as Zeina Nasour, 36, while the forensics report revealed that the time of death was 18 hours before the body was discovered. The report said that the cause of death was a poisonous substance, traces of which were found inside the room, which Nasour might have taken in a direct or indirect manner.

Police said that Nasour arrived from Antelias Monday morning to one of the hotels in the southern coastal city and ordered a nargileh, after which she checked in under an alias.

Nasour had been driving her car, which she parked facing the hotel, but it is unknown whether she had come with or was waiting for someone.

According to sources, the prosecutor general in the south ordered further investigations in order to uncover the details of the case and to determine whether she was murdered.

Sources also said that during their investigation, the police found irregularities in the behavior of hotel management, such as their neglect in checking Nasour’s identification papers before giving her a room and their delay in reporting the discovery of the body.

Detectives also attempted to watch the hotel’s surveillance videos to check whether Nasour was in the company of someone, but were surprised to find that the cameras do not actually record.

Elsewhere, in the village of Ras Baalbek, north east of Beirut, an elderly woman was found suffocated to death by an unidentified group of individuals. Saada Ibrahim Francise, 87, was found dead in her home after an apparent burglary, security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star. Investigations of the case are ongoing.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 22, 2011, on page 3.

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