CHILDERS, Australia (AP) -- Police investigating a suspicious fire that killed 15 young backpackers at a hostel said Monday they had a suicide note possibly signed by a drifter wanted for questioning in the blaze.
Handwriting experts were examining whether the letter was written by Robert John Long, 37, who was evicted from the Palace Hostel days before Friday's fire, Chief Supt. Ken Benjamin said. Long remained missing Monday.
A coroner said Monday that DNA testing may be needed to formally identify some of the badly burned victims -- six backpackers from Britain, four from Australia, two from the Netherlands and one each from Ireland, South Korea and Japan.
By Monday night, authorities had released a list of 12 people missing and presumed dead in the blaze. Two Australians and a South Korean remained unidentified.
''There is and will be some difficulty with the issue of identification,'' coroner Michael Halliday said.
One body had been taken out of the 100-year-old Palace Hostel on Saturday and 10 more bodies were removed Sunday and Monday. That left four bodies on the upper level of the two-story hostel, and police said they expected to move them on Tuesday.
The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined, but police suspect arson. Police said they were looking into a suicide note believed to be written by Long, an itinerant fruit picker originally from Sydney.
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