Mystery deaths of two Kiwis overseas

By Alice Hudson

Two Kiwis who died in separate overseas incidents were farewelled yesterday.

Lisa Ann Watson, 39, developed a rare and mysterious brain illness while travelling in Vietnam with her husband, children and mother.

And 16-year-old Monique Danielle Thompson is understood to have died after falling from the balcony of a Tokyo apartment on New Year's Eve.

Lisa Watson's husband Ray was yesterday too upset to talk about the death, but a family spokeswoman told the Herald on Sunday the "dedicated mother" deteriorated quickly.

"They'd been looking forward to the holiday for ages, and had been having a great time... the family is happy she was able to enjoy some good times in Vietnam before she became ill."

Lisa was taken from Vietnam to the Bangkok International Medical Centre, where she died last Sunday.

The official cause of death was diagnosed as septicaemia, or blood poisoning, but it was not clear how Lisa contracted the illness. The death of the adventurous woman was a huge shock, the spokeswoman said.

Nearly 500 people attended Lisa's funeral in her home town of Rotorua yesterday.

She lived in Christchurch with her husband Ray Watson, a Mental Health Commissioner and former chief executive of Lakes District Health Board and Ngai Tahu Development Corporation. She is survived by son Tahu, 6, and two older stepchildren Mariana and Jordan.

Monique Thompson was farewelled at a tangi in Wanganui yesterday.

Details are sketchy, but it is understood she fell from a low balcony - an MFAT spokesman confirmed her body had been returned to New Zealand, but would not comment on the events leading to her death.

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