Remains found in Pyrenees are those of missing hiker Esther Dingley, DNA test confirms

30 July 2021, 10:23 | Updated: 30 July 2021, 10:31

Remains found in the Pyrenees have been confirmed to be those of missing hiker Esther Dingley
Remains found in the Pyrenees have been confirmed to be those of missing hiker Esther Dingley. Picture: LBT GLOBAL / FAMILY

By Asher McShane

Remains found in the search for British hiker Esther Dingley, who went missing in the Pyrenees last year, have been confirmed by DNA testing as being hers.

It is feared Esther lost her way and become the victim of a tragic mountain accident while hiking in the mountains last year.

Esther's remains were found by a mountain runner last Friday afternoon. French forensic experts checked them against DNA samples from Esther’s mother Ria.

She vanished in November last year, while climbing the 8,796ft Pico Salvaguardia in the Pyrenees.

Esther’s partner, Daniel Colegate and her mother said in a joint statement: “We are distraught to report that we have received DNA confirmation that one of the bones found last week belongs to Esther.

"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.

"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.

"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."

After the remains were found, Patrick Lagleize, President of the Pyrenean Guides Association (CGdP) told told French website LaDepeche.Fr: "You can lose the way and slide on the scree (rocks and gravel). 

“Logically, for Esther to have fallen that way, is unfortunately quite plausible."

Esther had been touring Europe with her boyfriend Daniel, 38, when she went missing.

He has spent months searching for clues about what happened to his partner.

He insisted the paths Esther had been hiking along were ones “children walk with their parents in summer, close to easy-access roads”.