Spain - Esther Dingley, from UK, missing in the Pyrenees, November 2020 #4

Discussion in 'Missing Persons Discussion' started by FrostOwl, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

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    Well, the only thing we can say for certain...is that even if she’d been a member of the Royal family, they could not have done a more extensive search for her. Everything has been done that could possibly be done.
    Esther took risks. She was up in the mountains during lockdown. She was trekking quite late in the year. She got into cars with strangers. And that last day, she was vague about her plan. There’s nothing more to do now but wait.
     


  2. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    It sounds like you're mixing up the Cabane and the Refuge? They are in opposite directions from one another. The Refuge is in France and not near a road. The Cabane is in Spain and nearish a road, but I also believe maybe a dead end leg off the road? There is another route to the Venasque valley (in Spain) that forks off the Cabane trail; it goes to the Hopital. You could get to the Refuge faster than you can to the Cabane IMO. Neither have wifi or cell service.
    I still think your scenario could work out, but with that clarification.
     
  3. Nerissa

    Nerissa Working on a case.....of scotch

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    I'm most fascinated by the fascination - which I clearly share!

    Occam's razor: she had a mishap in the mountains.....

    Why don't we quite believe that...?

    First, I will say I don't know the region - & when those who do say: she's not there - I tend to believe them

    I live in an area wherein there is a particular case (Holly White Taos, NM) & folks speculate & I can say with utter certainty, living here, that: NOPE......some things just aren't realistic at all...

    All the same: she probably is in the mountains .....

    What niggles: those last vague posts & communications......others have posted succinctly about

    That she is a grown woman who apparently takes one bell pepper, dry oats & a 'leaf lettuce' (um, one lettuce leaf....?)......I just don't know what.....a woman who cannot take care of herself at the most basic level or doesn't have respect for nature & natural laws.....

    Occam's razor: she asked for fruit because she was hungry.....well - not a surprise I guess....

    She strikes me as someone who did well with 'hoops': jump through them & get a prize: academics but real life was quite different.......

    She doesn't seem very practical & has very poor emotional boundaries....did she meet up with the wrong person who exploited this - ?

    Did she summit this same mountain again to kill herself - ?

    It's a strange case....

    & I have no intention on being harsh on wonderful Esther - she's a beautiful soul no matter what her choices......

    I hope there's closure for those who loved her

    MOO
     
  4. PeggyHenry

    PeggyHenry Well-Known Member

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    Really enjoyed your post! You’ve expressed things in a straightforward way and hit the nail on the head for me!

    • I don’t quite believe she had an accident

    • if those who know the region well say she’s not in the mountains then I do tend to believe them... but all the same, she probably is!

    • the taking of a bell pepper lettuce and oats on that overnight hike... it really is a failure to take care of herself at a basic level

    • poor emotional boundaries


    I think I would go for the accident possibility far more easily were it not for those points. I wouldn’t be fascinated if there weren’t so much to chew over!!
     
  5. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all that’s stated above. But another strange aspect of this case is the over 24 hours of silence from Esther on the day before. This leads to the apology of sorts and the flattering “Can’t wait to read all your messages.” These are among her last communications with Dan.

    But no...she certainly...decided..to wait...to read all those messages. She spent the night before at the Cabane. She spent that last day somewhere unknown until 3pm. She was free to go anywhere, do anything. She could have popped over to the Hospital which has WiFi. She certainly crossed into areas that had WIFI and she would know generally where, having spent weeks in that area.

    And if Dan and her Mother are accurately reporting that she checked in several times a day...this would have been the first aberration in her behavior to them as well.

    IMO, her last communications to Dan do not sound like the lovefests he interprets them as.

    15:29 – Returns to Pic de Sauvegarde
    15:31 – “Not much signal in this area sorry”
    “I’m on a col/peak so can’t stop for too long but wanted you to know. Can’t wait to read all your messages. Thank you
    “Love you very much XXX having a really good time.”

    (Esther immediately makes an excuse to him that she can’t stay too long...but in fact spends 30 plus minutes. Think about how you are feeling when you answer your phone and immediately make that excuse.)

    15:41 – Sends 2 selfies.

    (Dan includes this minor detail but if he’s had a long video conversation with her, why would he omit that? Meanwhile who is she talking to in the next 25 minutes?)

    16:04: “I’m heading off now...Maybe have signal but not sure. Sorry. I think I can see you !!!”


    (This sounds like the old line...”Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”)

    16:06: “Still in the same area. Tomorrow heading for Port de le Glere or something spelt like that. Might dip into France. Hoping Refuge Venasque has a winter room. Keep you posted when can xx”
    “Love you xxx”

    (Dan must have asked for more information...about her route. Importantly, she did not first offer it to him as he claims was her habit)

    16:07 – Video Call with Dan lasting for 1:36

    (I think Dan followed up after that vague text about her plans and tried to get more info from her. We know he did not because that’s pretty much what authorities had to base the search on.)


    She’s up there with WIFI for 40 minutes and from his dossier, all he gets are a few texts and a very short final Skype, probably initiated by him. He heard nothing from her for over 26hours before.

    The last interactions he reports sound IMO like a woman trying to manage a romantic pest. She says what is needed to placate him, because she doesn’t want the drama of dealing with him. It’s very possible that Esther stayed at the Refuge and continued on...for a day or days...on this new pattern of avoiding the phone...and Dan. IMO, of course. Dan understood this on some level, that is why..from Sunday afternoon..till Wednesday afternoon...he did not report her missing.
     
  6. patCee

    patCee Well-Known Member

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    The main 4 possibilities discussed at length are all rational and it's hard to differentiate between them for what is the most likely. I'm less sure that she's still on the mountain due to the huge search not finding anything, unless of course ED went far off the trails referred to, e.g. the glacier. Re the possibility of abduction, although it happens, it seems to be (to me) a lower chance of her meeting the horror of a deranged killer, predator; likewise the idea of her planning to disappear with someone doesn't fit with me.
    Self harm i.e. suicide interests me due to her seemingly strong reluctance to return to a 'normal life'. Although she is a successful academic, that is a life that offers a high level of containment in the focus and discipline it demands. As we know there are not always signs of someone planning to harm themselves as shown by the case on here in Scotland. Another example is an MPs wife here in the UK, the 3rd similar case I've read in the past weeks, and the devastating emotional anguish this causes to the family.

    Owen Paterson on the agony of his wife's suicide: 'It's horrifying to think she was suffering so badly without us knowing'.
     
  7. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    I want to insert a corrective here:

    The problem with the idea that "they did a huge search and couldn't find her, so she's unlikely to be in the mountains", unfortunately, is the opposite of what most often happens. In a large percentage of cases, bodies don't show up until long after the search has concluded, sometimes years later.

    Spain SAR is extremely proficient, organized, experienced. As is routine in the backcountry for teams like this, they likely executed the most productive (according to their statistics) search for that area and those conditions, the one that would typically discover the most victims. This does not mean, in any kind of way, that they searched every nook and cranny: that's not even possible.
    Furthermore, they won't have used ground searches except in the area of the highest likelihood of a find, i.e. where DC told them to go. But the number of assumptions underlying that information......! IMO ED went in the other direction, and was parrying DC to get him to back off. ED's incorrect gender choice for glère told me that. She made it up—in all its vagueness—on the fly.
    Spanish SAR also likely followed their manuals in how long and how large a search area they used, namely the one with the highest percentage of success.
    At some point, you end the search, not because you've searched every nook and cranny, but because percentage-wise the likelihood of finding something, anything, was minuscule. Plus, a big snow was coming in to begin the winter.

    That being said, it was a COLOSSAL search. I wish we'd see more thankfulness for that in the published materials.

    ******
    Note: French LE/SAR had a whole different problem on their hands, which will have impacted their search criteria. They had a political problem. Hiking was prohibited because of COVID lockdown rules. They were getting a lot of flak from the public. The French area had also been contaminated by at least one other hiker in a way that would have been confusing to sniffing dogs. So, although French SAR may have done a thorough search, it may well not have been as thorough or extensive as the Spanish-side search.

    ********
    LE's position is that ED never made it into France. We don't know what that position is based on: evidence from communications, politics, statistics, likelihood?
     
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  8. wary

    wary Well-Known Member

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    Snipped to focus on one unimportant point. ‘Leaf lettuce’ is ‘fluffy’ lettuce, Bibb, Romaine, Oak Leaf, etc., as opposed to ‘head lettuce,’ the more conventional kind with tight-packed leaves, cabbage style.

    Leaf lettuce is usually darker green and considered more nutritious by health-food people.

    She could have had any amount of it, unless someone specifically said: “one leaf of lettuce.” However, I agree that that sounds like a terrible meal for a serious hiker.
     
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  9. CharlesSwann

    CharlesSwann Former Member

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    Those messages from the peak actually sound lovey-dovey to me - quite gushy in fact. If she was wanting to distance herself emotionally she surely wouldn't pepper her messages with love yous and xxxs.

    Some of the reasoning is now getting too subtle. I haven't abandoned the theory of sentimental suicide near the summit of Sauvegarde (maybe it's the novelist in me) but, probability-wise, a banal misadventure in the mountains is surely most likely. For example, standing on a loose shoelace when lolloping downhill will cause you to fall forwards, and if you are carrying a heavy pack and happen to be on a precipice - well, voila.

    As to the thoroughness of the search, I imagine when they find her it will be "we were so close - how did we miss her?"
     
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  10. Puzzles

    Puzzles Well-Known Member

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    With but a tiny tangle of information we keep discussing Esther's disappearance, going over and over details we've already teased apart. It's as if we hope by our very words we'll find her, perhaps even learn she is safe somewhere.
     
  11. IrisElizabeth

    IrisElizabeth Well-Known Member

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    I can see what you mean, but on the other hand if someone was trying to placate the other person and get them to stop 'hassling' them then over the top gushy messages might be a way to get them off your back - not saying that this was the case here, but who knows. It's quite interesting that while DC was happy to publicise Esther's messages he seems to have been reticent to show his half of the conversation, so the meaning of her messages have been left wide open to speculation as we have no idea of their context in terms of the conversation. But as has been said already on this thread, the Spring thaw is likely to bring the answer to Esther's disappearance, and hopefully will bring closure to Ether's family - although of course this won't heal the pain of her loss for them. Just such a sad situation all round. I hope DC is able to move forward with his life and find a path to a form of happiness one day.
     
  12. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Such a great point that we have no idea what DC said in his messages and no idea how many there were. I would guess that's for a reason.
     
  13. PeggyHenry

    PeggyHenry Well-Known Member

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    I would too. I also think that they were messages that were trying to placate DC - keep him happy. The 'I think I can see you' disturbs me. What if she really does 'think she can see him'? She is high up at the peak and looking down she can see figures, small tiny figures - and one looks just like Dan...

    What other reason does she have to say those words? What if DC is trying to get to her, hence the numerous messages..
     
  14. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

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    snipped and BBM

    ...and the fact ED said the exact same thing to DC the day before (21/11) from the same summit makes it doubling disturbing to me. Maybe it was a cute little banter they did between themselves. But I think it was more about a rote routine ED had fallen into. And because ED said 'I think I can see you' two days in a row, to me, is not about spotting someone on the trail.. its more like referencing a distant stationary point (i.e. DC at the farmhouse). And to me, ED is having trouble communicating with DC.
     
  15. PeggyHenry

    PeggyHenry Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you may be right.. 'I think I can see you !!! '
    Just seems a strange thing to say though. If she thought she 'd seen a little house, for instance, way in the distance, I'd have imagined a 'Think I can see you, I can see the white bricks and fir tree' - a sort of qualifier.

    If someone, anyone ,was coming to meet Esther in the mountains and she didn't really want to meet them, then I can imagine she'd be vague about her whereabouts and jumpy. Always, looking around her. Sending messages to keep them happy etc. She would maybe stop updating on her whereabouts. Is that why she stopped her facebook updates suddenly. She wanted to be less easy to locate.
     
  16. Satchie

    Satchie Well-Known Member

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    I would add that the purpose of SAR is Search and Rescue, not Search for Dead Bodies.

    Searching for a living person means you don't just start at one end and look under every rock until you get to the other end. You hope the person is still alive, and possibly they are moving, so you cover the whole area repeatedly, quickly, looking for signs of life and movement, hoping that the person will see or hear you, and will come closer or figure out how to signal in order to be able to make contact the next time you come round. In following these cases, I've noticed SARs searches so often miss dead bodies, and I think this is the reason.
     
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  17. Grouse

    Grouse Well-Known Member

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    It does seem like that now on this thread, it's just going over and over what has already been covered.
     
  18. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

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    We are guests of this site and there are site specific rules. It may be that LE (or even some of us) have another theory or two...but unless and until something like that is made public, we cannot broach those theories here.
     
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  19. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Can you see Venasque from the Pic? That might be interesting, too.
     
  20. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

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    I will say that even though we seem to go over and over the same information...usually someone comes up with a new and very interesting slant.

    Something new for me to ponder was posted by RickshawFan today...why didn’t Dan give us both sides of those vital last exchanges?

    What actually was said in the very short Skype call at the end? Why was he messaging her so often the day before? Why isn’t there any indication of a long conversation about the huge marketing coup of the BBC interview that just aired that day?

    What if ED was having some sort of mental crisis as some of you have suggested. That would fit with some of the bizarre last quotes “might dip into France” “I think I can see you.” etc. Did she return to the same peak because she was already confused?

    It would be another way to explain the strange confluence of the love language with a seeming avoidance of contact with Dan.
     

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