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Human remains found are missing British hiker’s, DNA test confirms

Written by on 30/07/2021

Human remains found in the search for a missing British hiker have been confirmed as being hers, a charity says.

Esther Dingley, 37, was last seen walking alone in the Pyrenees mountains near the French-Spanish border on 22 November last year.

She had been travelling through Europe in a campervan with her partner since 2014 but disappeared on a three-day solo trek.

A bone found in the mountain range last week was DNA tested and confirmed as being Ms Dingley’s, said the overseas crisis support charity LBT Global (formerly the Lucie Blackman Trust).

Esther Dingley, 37, is missing in the Pyrenees. Pic: PGHM Luchon

In a statement, her partner Daniel Colegate and mother Ria Bryant said: “We have all known for many months that the chance we would get to hug our beloved Esther again, to feel her warm hand in ours, to see her beautiful smile and to watch the room light up again whenever she arrived was tiny, but with this confirmation that small hope has now faded.

“It is devastating beyond words.

“At this stage, with just a single bone found and no sign of equipment or clothing in the immediate area (which has been closely searched again over several days), the details of what happened and where still remain unknown.

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Ms Dingley had been travelling since 2014. Pic: LBT Global

“The search and rescue teams intend to continue their search on foot and with drones, particularly trying to find some sign of Esther’s equipment to understand how this tragedy occurred.”

They added: “The family would like to express their gratitude to the officers in charge of the various police units in France and Spain, the British consulates in Bordeaux and Barcelona, and LBT Global, all of whom have remained in close contact with us for months now.

“Their continued support and their determination to find answers is welcome.”

Earlier this year, Mr Colegate said officials looking for Esther were investigating “other options beyond a mountain accident”.

LBT Global’s chief executive Matthew Searle said “This is the tragic end we have all feared.

“This is devastating news for Esther’s loved ones – never before have I seen such incredible determination as that showed by Daniel in his relentless physical search of the mountains.”

 Sky News

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