Remains of Esther Dingley, Missing British Hiker, Are Found
The remains of Esther Dingley, a Briton who went missing while hiking alone in the Pyrenees eight months ago, have been found, according to an international missing persons support group.
The organization, LBT Global, announced the find in a statement Friday, adding that Ms Dingley’s identity was confirmed by DNA testing after a single bone was found near its last known location.
An investigation is still ongoing, the group said, although it did not specify which authorities were involved. The organization said there were still no signs of equipment or clothing in the immediate area where the bone was found, and search and rescue teams would continue to search the area by land. and aerial.
PGHM Luchon, the French mountain authority in the region, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Ms Dingley’s partner Dan Colegate and her mother said in a joint statement the find was “devastating beyond words”.
“We all knew for many months that how lucky we would be to kiss our beloved Esther again, to feel her warm hand in ours, to see her beautiful smile and to see the room light up again at his arrival was tiny, but with this confirmation that little hope has now vanished, ”they said.
Mr Colegate and Ms Dingley had documented their travels across Europe over the past six years on a popular blog, drawing the attention of other globetrotters.
By the time of Ms Dingley’s disappearance she had been on a month-long solo hike while Mr Colegate was staying on a farm in Gascony, southwest France.
Ms Dingley was last seen on November 22 on Pic de Safeguard, a mountain in the Pyrenees along the border with Spain, according to French authorities. She had planned to return three days later, Mr Colegate said.
In early December and in adverse weather conditions, the French authorities had become pessimistic about the chances of finding Ms Dingley. That month, Mr Colegate said his partner’s disappearance had ‘shattered’ him.
In the months that followed, Mr Colegate continued his own search efforts alongside French and Spanish authorities, zigzagging through the mountains surrounding Ms Dingley’s last known location and her known route. “I have traveled about 700 miles now and have not found any sign of it,” he said in a Facebook statement this month.
Writing about his exhaustive research efforts for the BBC, Mr Colegate said his partner’s disappearance had “defined almost every waking moment for me for over seven months now”.
He said when friends suggested his research was like looking for a needle in a haystack, he didn’t agree with the comparison.
“Even if the analogy worked,” he wrote, “my answer would be that you can find a needle in a haystack, if you’re willing to study each strand, one at a time.”
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