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  1. #46
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    DENISE THIEM'S DISAPPEARANCE


    Picture Gallery

    AZCentral The Arizona Republic

    http://www.azcentral.com/picture-gal...medium=twitter


    Denise Thiem disappeared Easter Sunday while hiking in Spain. She has been missing for more than two months
    Denise Thiem traveled to all seven continents, her brother Cedric Thiem said. | He said she traveled frequently for personal reasons or for work.
    Denise Thiem, 41, was last known to be in Astorga more than halfway through completing the Camino de Santiago, a popular trek through northern Spain that would have taken her about a month to finish. | The pilgrimage was supposed to be the endcap to a five-month, round-the-world journey that took Thiem through Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, France and Spain
    Friends and family say they hold out hope of finding her.
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  2. #47
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    Arizona woman disappears on Spain's Camino de Santiago
    Amy B Wang, The Republic | azcentral.com 4:16 p.m. MST June 12, 2015

    Denise Thiem would begin the final leg of her journey in Pamplona.

    For five months, she had been on a round-the-world voyage, a mid-life calling that had prompted her to leave her job in Arizona and follow her wanderlust through Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and France.

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/...iago/71038000/

  3. #48
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    These blogs have photos of the route she intended to follow that day, 14 km, Astorga to El Ganso. Very open, simple.

    http://www.caminomyway.com/on-the-ca...nal-del-camino http://kaaretorgnypettersen.blogspot...banal-del.html

    Many, many women have walked the Camino alone (including, famously, Shirley MacLaine), and they will continue to do it - like me, someday, I hope. There may be a predator out there, but one takes those risks, I guess.

  4. #49
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    ARIZONA WOMAN DISAPPEARS ON WORLD TOUR



    "She's always been very careful. She knows how to travel. She doesn't like taking risks and stuff like that. She knows her limits."


    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...tour/71202712/

    After returning from a trip the weekend after April 1, the last time he talked with his sister, Cedric emailed her to see how she was doing, but there was no reply. After some days went by, he began to grow anxious.

    "At first I thought maybe there was just really sketchy Internet," he said. "But there's only so many days you can go without connection."

    Cedric began posting queries on online Camino de Santiago forums: Had anyone spotted his sister on the trail? Before Denise had left the U.S., she had given Cedric the passwords to her email and other accounts, as a precaution. He logged into her email and noticed that she had sent a message on April 4 to a travel companion she had met on the trip saying she had arrived in Astorga. She wrote that she planned to attend Mass the next day, Easter Sunday, and then head out to El Ganso.

    Cedric reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Spain to try to file a missing persons report. People on the forums told him to be patient, that people could go days at a time on the trail without contact.

    He knew his sister was a more private person and not an avid Facebook user, but this much silence with her family was unusual. Occasionally, he would get a message saying someone had spotted Denise — but it would be a different person.

    "It seemed like everybody was doubting the missing person thing," Cedric said. "I don't know, it was just that gut feeling where it was like something's not right. She wouldn't go off-grid without telling me. If she wasn't talking to anybody, she would at least talk to me."

    Frustrated, Cedric decided to fly to Spain to see what he could do there. He arrived in Madrid on April 20. As soon as he got off the plane, he filed a report with the local police at the airport with the help of a translator. Then, he traveled to Santiago with the only thing he could think of doing.

    "I was going to trek backwards ... and if she was really (still) on the trail then I would like run into her," he said. Perhaps she had just been injured, he thought.

    He hiked the trail for two days before deciding that he should visit the town where she was last seen. So he traveled to Astorga and stayed there for nearly three weeks, trying to retrace his sister's steps, talk to local authorities and find out what might have happened. He said Spanish police were cooperative but unable to uncover any additional clues as to his sister's whereabouts. He returned to the U.S. on May 3.

    "It's emotionally draining," Cedric said. "There's so much unknown and you don't know what to do. You feel helpless and your imagination goes wild because anything is possible."


    BBM


    More at link.
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satchie View Post
    These blogs have photos of the route she intended to follow that day, 14 km, Astorga to El Ganso. Very open, simple.

    http://www.caminomyway.com/on-the-ca...nal-del-camino http://kaaretorgnypettersen.blogspot...banal-del.html

    Many, many women have walked the Camino alone (including, famously, Shirley MacLaine), and they will continue to do it - like me, someday, I hope. There may be a predator out there, but one takes those risks, I guess.
    BBM


    You can also follow the tracks on Google Streetview. Even in the pictures, pilgrims with backpacks appear.
    If Denise had suffered a problem with her health and dropped to the ground, she would have been found by the next pilgrims or by someone on the road.
    A traffic accident is very unlikely because for much of the trail there is a separate path for hikers.

    I had contact with an American pilgrim who was hiking from Astorga after the news of Denise's disappearance had spread.
    She said: I had left Astorga and saw this open, lonely plain. The loneliness was scary. I did not dare to contine, I turned back to Astorga and took a cab to my next destination.

    I hate to think that Denise met with foul play because she was hiking alone.
    She was hiking alone because she had left late.
    She was late because she had gone to mass. On Easter Sunday, during a pilgrimage.

    How ironic is that?


    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  6. #51
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    THE NATIONAL POLICE IS WORKING TIRELESSLY TO FIND DENISE


    Diario de León.es 12 - 06 - 2015
    http://www.diariodeleon.es/noticias/...se_985947.html



    The Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Martinez, said today in Leon, "The National Police are putting all their effort and working tirelessly" to clarify the facts surrounding the mysterious disappearance last April 5 of the American pilgrim Denise Pikka Thiem.

    The trail of the woman, 41, Asian, was lost while she was hiking alone the Camino de Santiago as it passes through the province of Leon.

    Martinez, who has closed this afternoon in Leon a series of lectures on Europe organized by the University of León, stressed that "this very morning I held a meeting with the government delegate in Castilla and Leon, and we have addressed this issue".

    "I have noted the efforts being carried out," said Martinez, who has not wanted to reveal what lines of investigation are being worked on.


    BBM

    It is such a pity that Denise was not carrying a mobile phone that might have pinged to reveal her last location...
    But then GSM networks and internet are all recent inventions. Missing persons were found before that era too.
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  7. #52
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    WITH TOURIST MISSING, WORRY SPREADS ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO


    NY Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/wo...s&emc=rss&_r=0

    [...]

    Her disappearance has not only set off a desperate search by her family and friends, but also prompted concerns about the safety of the route, which has become a tourist boon to Spain. Now, some pilgrims are sharing previously unreported accounts of threats and harassment along the Camino on social networking sites.

    “It seems kind of scary to see a lot of people now coming out sharing experiences on the Camino that they never told the police,” said Cedric Thiem, her brother.

    Ms. Thiem, 41, had quit her job last year in Phoenix to travel the world. She started out in Asia and arrived in Spain in March. Born in Hong Kong, she “likes traveling and knows how to travel,” her brother said by phone.

    In recent years, the Camino has gained fame because of books and movies like “The Way,” which featured Martin Sheen. And after watching the movie, she decided the Camino was “something different and really cool to experience,” her brother said.

    The surge in the number of pilgrims is also attributable to high unemployment, particularly in Spain, which has given people time and reasons to combine travel and soul-searching. (*)

    In 1984, just 423 pilgrims were certified as having completed the Camino to the Cathedral of Santiago, which is the final resting place of St. James. Last year alone, a record 237,810 pilgrims were certified.

    Victorina Alonso, the departing mayor of Astorga, insisted that Ms. Thiem’s disappearance did not reflect any safety risk for the thousands of pilgrims who pass through the area, and that it was “an isolated case that could have occurred in any other part of Spain or elsewhere.” She said the number of pilgrims was still rising from a year ago.

    The Camino has become “very, very important economically for us,” the mayor said. “Pilgrims eat and stay here, but they also are our best ambassadors, talking about our town around the world or then coming back later on another holiday.”

    An official from Spain’s national police, who asked not to be named in relation to a continuing investigation, said the police had not made any link between Ms. Thiem’s disappearance and other possible incidents around Astorga.

    However, Diego Yoon, the president of an association of Korean pilgrims, said some Koreans had recently canceled their Camino travel plans for this summer because of safety concerns. He added: “We have some of our pilgrims who are now talking about a bad experience on the Camino, especially women who have been sexually harassed.”

    Ms. Thiem took a taxi at least once on one of the legs of her journey, because she was struggling with blisters. “As a joke, she even started to name the blisters on her feet,” said Christine Blankenburg-Didner, a German pilgrim whose own walk overlapped with Ms. Thiem’s trek on three occasions along the Camino, including on the morning of April 5.

    The United States Embassy in Madrid said the F.B.I. was assisting Spanish national police in efforts to find Ms. Thiem. Her relatives, friends and volunteers have also organized their own searches around Astorga, so far to no avail.

    Richard Paili Yien, deputy attorney general for Nevada and a college friend of Ms. Thiem’s, traveled from Carson City, Nev., to Astorga as part of the volunteer search efforts.

    Even though Ms. Thiem had sent an email to the British pilgrim saying she would next travel to a town a few miles west, “there isn’t a whole lot of evidence that she ever left Astorga,” Mr. Yien said. During his time in Astorga, he also noted a “more heavy police presence along the Camino.” He added: “I feel safer here than in my hometown.”


    BBM


    One elephant in the room has finally been named: the Camino is of utmost economic importance to the rural north of Spain. A village like Santa Catalana de Somoza would have been abandoned long ago if it had not been for the Camino. No wonder some villagers try to play it down that one of them, the woman Covadonga Ayora, was almost kidnapped while she was jogging.
    There are some other elephants, not yet named, let's see what happens with those.


    (*) The high unemployment in Spain causes a lot of misery and even if people have the time, they do not have the resources to travel at all. Budget for the Camino for a month is €900 - €1500 on the cheap. Benefits for the unemployed are considerably lower.

    Over 50% of the pilgrims are foreigners. Statistics (2012) here: http://www.peregrinossantiago.es/esp...ciones2012.pdf page 3
    786 Dutch pilgrims started the Camino in their own country. 603 Germans, 32 pilgrims from Poland, 6 Danes and 6 Fins did the same.
    1 Pilgrim began the Camino in Egypt and 3 in Jerusalem.
    As far as I can see, these numbers relate to those who finished the Camino and presented themselves at the official Pilgrim's Office in Santiago de Compostela, and qualified for a Compostela.
    The number of those who started and did not finish for whatever reason must be higher.
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  8. #53
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    I didn't realize the FBI hot involved in overseas disappearances. Glad they're looking into it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppygirl View Post
    I didn't realize the FBI hot involved in overseas disappearances. Glad they're looking into it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    IMHO to call in the FBI is the next insult to the locals and the volunteers.
    What does the FBI know about rural Spain that Spain does not? One wonders what added value they could possibly have and what kind of work, if any, they might do.



    PS I am not happy with what I write here, but I am really shocked about this.... what is it, a blind spot towards the feelings of other countries?
    Last edited by ZaZara; 06-19-2015 at 07:19 AM. Reason: ps added
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZaZara View Post
    IMHO to call in the FBI is the next insult to the locals and the volunteers.
    What does the FBI know about rural Spain that Spain does not? One wonders what added value they could possibly have and what kind of work, if any, they might do.



    PS I am not happy with what I write here, but I am really shocked about this.... what is it, a blind spot towards the feelings of other countries?
    I think the question is what does the FBI know about finding missing people, than the rural Spanish LE? Profiling criminals doesn't change from one country to another.


  11. #56
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    "CAMINO TRAFFIC WAS BOUND TO SPUR A GROWTH IN PREDATORS AND OTHERS OF ILL INTENT"

    Phil Thompson, who hiked the Camino de Santiago in 2013, posted this comment on the Camino-forum (english)
    link: I think my sister is missing. Please help.


    The above New York Times article is spot on in my view. There are a number of early postings on this site asserting that the Camino is safe for women. I think that is nonsense today. The dramatic spike in Camino traffic in recent years was bound to spur a growth in predators and others of ill intent, and especially so when unemployment is well above 20% and 30% in southern Europe. While those that walk in groups are unlikely to have any problems, those that walk alone are exposing themselves to trouble.

    I walked the Camino in 2013 and saw, first hand, what I considered to be phony male pilgrims from Eastern Europe and perhaps Italy. I saw them in heated arguments with others of their ilk, observed them going east -- and west -- on the Camino, was intrigued that their clothing was more "designer" than hiker, and thought it unusual that while the rest of us were muddy, wet and grimy, they were clean. I saw them leave albergues in the dead of night and return before morning. They worked their cell phones constantly, and that was a dead give-away in my view since many of us did not travel with a cell phone, and most of those that did used the phones sparingly and mostly for photography. I observed this behavior at the beginning of my Camino walk and just as I was about to enter Astorga where this young lady disappeared. I assumed at the time that these folks were running drugs, using the Camino as cover. Who would suspect pilgrims of such activity?

    A trusted Korean pilgrim told me that Koreans have been targeted for robbery because they often walk alone. She also advised that she and other Korean women were sexually harassed on the Camino, but it is unlikely that any of this was reported because of embarrassment. I believe those people who speculate that this young woman designed her own disappearance do a disservice to her, to her family, and to all women on the Camino today and those planning to walk the Camino. There is a stronger case to be made that she fell victim to human trafficking given the prevalence of that horrible crime in southern Europe.

    The people who profit by Camino traffic, those along the way and those that advocate for it here in the US and elsewhere, should be demanding that US and Spanish authorities demonstrate far more serious intent to account for this disappearance. And all of us who have walked the Camino should be doing likewise. We need to start shaming US officials in Spain and their Spanish counterparts to double down on their efforts. Otherwise, women will continue to be at risk. This is not the time to bury our heads and pretend that this young woman does not wish to be found.


    BBM


    IMHO this is spot on, and the other elephant that hardly anyone dares to mention.

    Have those two men from Eastern Europe who tried to kidnap Covadonga Ayora been caught yet?
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  12. #57
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    "THE UNESCO-RECOGNISED ROMAN CATHOLOC PILGRIMAGE ROUTE"

    Luxury train will make the pilgrimage to Santiago
    http://www.euroweeklynews.com/3.0.15...ge-to-santiago

    THIS summer there’s a new travel option for the widely popular Camino de Santiago, a multi-route pilgrimage culminating in Santiago de Compostela. Rather than the roughing-it adventure for which the Camino is best known, pilgrims can opt to travel in sumptuous style this July aboard the luxury locomotive, Al Andalus.
    Dubbed a “palace on wheels,” the train resonates with Moorish style and Islamic history. The luxury train usually travels around Andalucia; however, this summer it will deviate from its normal trajectory in order to explore the UNESCO-recognised Roman Catholic pilgrimage route.
    The five-day, four-night journey leaves from Leon between July 13 and 20, exploring several towns throughout Galicia, all the while enjoying the royal treatment on-board and off, including a lavish dinner in a five-star parador in Santiago and a relaxing boat ride along the river Arousa.
    The train, renowned as one of the most luxurious trains in the world, is replete with creature comforts and rich opulence, with many of the original Belle Epoque features preserved and restored. It was initially designed for the British royal family to travel between Calais and the French Riviera and still retains its affluent extravagance.

    I was reading tweets with the #CaminodeSantiago and this one caught my eye, so I followed the link.
    The number of commercial tweets and promotional messages from organizations connected with the camino seems to increase day by day. Tweeting pilgrims are rapidly becoming a minority, although the number of pilgrims is increasing:

    Walking the Camino ‏@CaminoDoc

    30,000 pilgrims arrived in Santiago in May 2015, a 13.5% increase from 2014! The #CaminoDeSantiago is catching on...

    BBM

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  13. #58
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    DIAPPEARANCE DENISE THIEM IS NEWS IN HONGKONG

    ON.CC Hong Kong
    http://hk.on.cc/int/bkn/cnt/news/201...17011_001.html

    41歲於香港出生的美籍亞裔女子蒂姆(Denise Thiem),今年初前往西班牙朝聖,惟於4月時突然失蹤,至今杳無音訊。西班牙警方仍在當地搜尋蒂姆,她 的親友則在facebook發起尋人行動,又挑選當地義工幫忙。由於蒂姆失蹤處治安不佳,當地傳媒指蒂姆或 被人綁架,警方呼籲朝聖者不要獨自踏上朝聖之路。
    蒂姆原居於美國亞利桑那州鳳凰城,她的兄弟稱,蒂姆踏上朝聖之路,是希望找尋生命的平衡。有指蒂姆最後一次 出現正是4月5日、即復活節當日,當時她被看到出現在西北部城市阿斯托加。據悉蒂姆獨自踏上朝聖之路「聖雅 各之路」,欲前往聖地亞哥德孔波斯特拉參加彌撒,但此後便音訊全無,她的提款卡及電郵亦未見任 何使用記錄。
    警方隨即展開調查,又在道路張貼尋人啟示,但至今仍未有任何進展。蒂姆的家人在網上進行籌款,又邀請當地義 工協助尋找蒂姆。當地有英語論壇建議,朝聖者不要單獨踏上「聖雅各之路」中阿斯托加至聖科隆瓦德索莫薩的路 段。
    因當地的治安不佳。此前當地有一名年約50歲的女子,行經朝聖熱點時,被2名男子駕車跟蹤,其中1人更半蒙 面。女子憶述,當時男子企圖捉着她的手臂迫她上車,她至今想起仍心有餘悸。


    Google translated, Theim becomes Tim:

    41-year-old American-born Asian woman in Hong Kong, Tim (Denise Thiem), a pilgrimage to Spain earlier this year, but in April when suddenly disappeared, not been heard from since. Spanish police are still searching for local Tim, her relatives and friends in the facebook initiate tracing action, and the selection of local volunteers to help. Tim missing due to poor security at the local media of Tim or kidnapped, the police appealed to pilgrims not to embark on the pilgrimage route alone.
    Tim former resident of Phoenix, Arizona, said her brother, Tim set foot on the pilgrimage route, is to find the balance of life. Tim was last seen there is that it is April 5, the date of Easter, when she was to see appear in the northwestern city of Astorga. It is reported that Tim alone set foot on "Camino de Santiago" pilgrimage route, heading for Santiago de Compostela attend Mass, but since then heard from her ATM card and e-mail use has not been any record.
    Police immediately launched an investigation, and in tracing the road Post enlightenment, but has yet to have any progress. Tim's family in online fund-raising, but also invite local volunteers to help find Tim. Local English Forum recommends that pilgrims do not embark alone in Astorga to pilgrims road "Camino de Santiago."
    Because the local law and order problems. Earlier there is a local woman about 50 years old, when passing pilgrimage hotspots are two men drove tracking, including one more half-masked. Woman recalled, when the man tried to force her holding on her arm on the train, she has thought still haunt.


    The facts as they are known. Article (with video) dates from June 8. There has been no news about Denise since then.

    Denise, where are you??
    It is all very well that your case is known as far as Hong Kong, but it would be much better if witnesses came forward in Spain, in the Astorga region.


    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

  14. #59
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    I wonder if anyone in the cathedral remembers her attending mass. But there may be so many pilgrims, they've become invisible

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satchie View Post
    I wonder if anyone in the cathedral remembers her attending mass. But there may be so many pilgrims, they've become invisible
    Denise's German friends from the Camino, who walked with her before, were the ones to recognize her in Astorga and come forward later. Their info led the Police to the Italian pilgrim. He did remember her but wasn't even aware that she was missing. And there it stops.
    In the internet (FB, fundraising page) pilgrims mention that they met Denise, but no one who met her before has seen her beyond Astorga.

    No doubt many other people have 'seen' her only they were not aware of her. Like when your are on the train - would you remember the other passengers? Or in a church. After 3 weeks or more? It is very difficult to remember persons that you do not know and have no contact with.

    I have to confess that to me Denise looks so very different in the various pictures. What a huge difference a smile makes, or eye make up!

    la foto7627467_G.jpg

    la foto 3(85).jpg

    Those who know her or have met her before will no doubt recognize her immediately.
    But for many Europeans it will be difficult to even distinguish one pilgrim with Asian features from the other.
    There have been 'sightings' of Denise, only it turned out every time that this was not Denise.

    Denise, where are you?
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity ~ Hanlon's Razor

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