British hiker Esther Dingley, 37, whose partial human remains were found on France’s border with Spain, may have been murdered.
Spanish hikers found remains which were later confirmed to be a piece of Esther’s skull at Port de la Glere, a mountain pass on the border after she went missing last November while out hiking in the Pyrenees.
Extensive subsequent searches have so far not revealed any further clues as to what happened to her but police investigating her death have now said publicly for the first time that she could have been murdered.
French prosecutor Christophe Amunzateguy, who is leading the investigation, said they are not ruling out that her death may not have been accidental.
Esther (left), from Durham, was travelling with boyfriend Dan Colegate (right), but was on a solo trek when she vanished. The experienced hiker had numerous items of kit with her, including a rucksack and brightly coloured survival gear, but extensive searches using drones and on foot have not found any other remains or any of her clothes or equipment.
Search teams believed a wolf or wild bear may have moved the bone fragment close to a well-used trail after Esther died in a fall. But that theory should have led to the discovery of clothes or equipment scattered somewhere nearby.
A family spokesperson said yesterday: “When this clothing and kit does turn up, it is likely to answer a lot of questions, or pose some more. Finding out what happened remains a priority.”
Search teams have said the rest of Esther’s remains may be hidden in a gulley or remote cave.
Christophe Amunzateguy told The Sun: “The aim is to put forward a scenario to explain the disappearance of Esther Dingley.
“To find out what may have happened, whether it was an accidental thesis, or a criminal thesis, because we are not closing the door to any hypothesis.”
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