A woman has become the latest member of a British family of five on holiday in Bangladesh to die from suspected poisoning.
Samira Islam, 20, died on Friday after she was discovered unconscious in a locked room by police officers on July 26. Her father, Rafiqul Islam, 51, a taxi driver, and his 16-year-old son, Mahiqul, also died in the rented flat in the eastern city of Sylhet.
Samira Islam’s mother, Husnara, 45, and older son, Sadiqul, 24, were treated in hospital and are said to be recovering. They have since been discharged from hospital, a source told the BBC.
The family, from the Riverside area of Cardiff, were on a two-month holiday visiting relatives in the country. After having dinner on Monday 25 July, the family were found unconscious the next day by relatives who raised the alarm after hearing noises from the flat and unsuccessfully trying to open the door.
“Our primary suspicion is that they have been poisoned,” Supt Farid Uddin said, adding that all family members had been sleeping in the same room, the doors were locked and there was no sign of forced entry.
Samira was previously in critical condition and in hospital on life support. Police said they had collected samples to examine in a laboratory to better understand the cause of death.
“Our investigators are talking to the relatives of the victims. So far, we don’t think they have any enmity with anyone,” Uddin said.
Masudul Amin, the investigating officer, said: “We are also speaking to the relatives who were in the flat and other residents of the building. No one has been detained or arrested in this murder.”
Those who knew the family in Cardiff were shocked and in disbelief at the news.
Muhibur Islam, an official at the Jalalia Mosque and Islamic Education Center, has known the family for many years. He described them as well-liked in Riverside, the center of a Bangladeshi community in Cardiff.
“It’s very terrible,” Islam said. “It’s very tragic, hard to take in.”
Islam said Rafiqul Islam’s mother and two siblings had flown to Bangladesh. “The circumstances are not clear. We pray that those who have survived will pull through,” he added. “We pray for them all.”
The family were described as “quiet” and “nice” and were said to be “doing their own thing” by a neighbor who has lived near them for more than 25 years and asked to remain anonymous.
Kanaya Singh, a Labor councilor for Riverside, said everyone in the community he had spoken to spoke highly of the family.
“There is also great concern because many people from Riverside go to Bangladesh on a regular basis. I hope the authorities are able to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.”
On July 28, hundreds of people lined the streets of Sylhet for the funeral of Rafiqul and Mahiqul, according to the BBC.