Spain - Esther Dingley, from UK, missing in the Pyrenees, November 2020 #5

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

  1. IrisElizabeth

    IrisElizabeth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    53
    I'm not really familiar with the topography of mountainous areas, but would DC be able to tell if ED was on a pic or col during the video call?
     
    The_Investigator, Puzzles and RedHaus like this.


  2. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,691
    Likes Received:
    7,591
    Trophy Points:
    113
    ‘This takes us back to Page 18 of Thread #2 (and perhaps Thread #1), where many of us explored in great detail the possibility that ED was NOT on the summit of pic de Sauvegarde at 15:29 on 22/11. That may be an assumption by LE and DC based on ED's phone pinging off of the summit cell mast. It also takes us back to our endless examination of the selfie ED sent DC on 22/11 and whether that was just another shot (later in the day) from 21/11. I still believe both of these are possibilities.’


    I do too.

    What some of us intuitively realize is that this really should not have been a case of much interest here on WS. It should be no mystery: a woman hiker disappears in the Pyrenees. She wasn’t walking home alone through the streets of London and suddenly disappeared.

    But yet, here we are...months later, still drawn to the details. Why?Because something is off. The narrative does not fit the reality. Maybe it will turn out to be that simple accident some believe but that does not mean that the circumstances that led up to that accident align with the narrative given to the public...who have been asked to help.

    If Esther disappeared voluntarily, what might she, in her affection for Dan...feel is the kindest way to go? They have been together many years and his illness, Covid, and Brexit mean their lifestyle is changing. How best to leave him able to survive on his own?

    A mysterious disappearance or a suicide far off the track...would leave him a sympathetic figure to the whole world with a tragic story to tell. She could be sure that the books would sell..and maybe the story of their lives together would make him a bestselling author. Yet, in whatever form, she would have the peace she was looking for. If there was deception here, it might have had its roots in empathy.
     
    Muva, tarabull, BoraBora and 11 others like this.
  3. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,691
    Likes Received:
    7,591
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Just bringing this forward again.
     
  4. canteloupe

    canteloupe "LEOs are law enforcement, not PR specialists"

    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    2,699
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I will admit that I am not following this case closely, but skimmed over the discussion of the Sundsvall geolocation concern.

    A few years ago when we were living in the UK, I trialed a few VPNs to connect to sites inaccessible by our ISP. One of the IP gateways for the VPN was Sundsvall, which I only realized because my auto-weather notifications were vastly different than good ol' dreary London. I'll try to figure out which service it was.
     
  5. canteloupe

    canteloupe "LEOs are law enforcement, not PR specialists"

    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    2,699
    Trophy Points:
    93
    follow-up to above post:

    I've changed jobs and devices since I used those VPN services, but want to say it was NordVPN. I don't recall if OVPN was one of the services I trialed, but they specifically provide a gateway in Sundsvall.

    I see from her post in October 2020 that she has a Samsung Note 9 that DC purchased in Grenoble and set up for her. Someone mentioned recently her having another SIM; it is possible that she swapped SIM cards or had one of the Note 9 models that support dual SIM.

    I think the mobile phone info is good news, as LE inquires to Google seem to be (at least as reported) less problematic than Apple. I know this has been discussed, but the Theo Hayez case gives precedent and optimism for Spanish/French/Interpol(?) authorities to pinpoint the phone's movement and even the micro-interactions a user has on the device. Those of you who listened to the Hayez podcast might remember that his family has detailed information on when and where he pinched the screen to zoom in on the maps app. DC et al clearly already have provider information, as noted from the tower connections, but may not have access to her Google accounts for the kind of precise data that will ultimately point a clearer path to Esther's whereabouts.
     
    Muva, patCee, stmarysmead and 2 others like this.
  6. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

    Messages:
    6,023
    Likes Received:
    18,934
    Trophy Points:
    113
    LE would also know whether someone else pinged in that area about the same time.

    We're learning from the insurrection at the Capitol that LE has the ability to cast a net and get all the cell phone data within that net. Device irrelevant. They know via cell phone who was on site. Every single non-authorized person in the Capitol at that time who used a phone is potentially chargeable.

    So, if necessary or worthwhile, LE could presumably cast a net over a certain area in the Pyrenees and see if there were pings and who they belonged to.
     
  7. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

    Messages:
    6,023
    Likes Received:
    18,934
    Trophy Points:
    113
  8. PeggyHenry

    PeggyHenry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1,383
    Trophy Points:
    93
    It seems like on the 22nd Esther is on personal / private business as opposed to hiking business. 21st she summits and posts to Instagram. 22nd she has a video call with DC and the ‘ I think I can see you’ message. This is why the quoted post above really gets to me. It is as though she is focussed on a meeting with someone .. as said .. striving to get somewhere for a purpose. She has asked for fruit or something fresh on her way up the trail... so late in the day. Is she nervous yet excited? Say she has known about the meet-up for the last two days .. which explains the interruption to her normal routines of Facebook posting etc. The BBC article comes out that morning... do DC and Esther really need to discuss this in person.. how to play it? In one scenario I’m thinking lots of nervous excitement .. how will the meeting go? They need to get their act together for the article. Both have different perspectives and motivations
     
  9. PeggyHenry

    PeggyHenry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1,383
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Scenario: If you were at the top of a mountain such as Pic de Sauvegarde and looking down ..knowing a friend was coming from a distance to meet with you, presumably at some stage you would be able to see figures on a trail coming towards you. My question is .. if I can think how to articulate it properly... over a 2 day period would it be possible to perhaps spot a figure one day and then spot the figure again the next day at a closer range. In other words, would you be high enough to potentially spot the figure very far away and then over 48 hrs glimpse the figure again but much further up the trail. Is that feasible? I’m imagining myself so high up looking down and being able to guess how near a tiny spec of say, red, is ...
     
  10. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    1,266
    Trophy Points:
    93
    At least at the lower elevations, under the peaks near Banasque, the snowpack is disappearing quickly - save a spring snow storm that could change that.

    This pic is from the Hotel Hospital Banasque / Llanos de Hospital nordic ski area JUST NOW (https://www.llanosdelhospital.es/webcam1.jpg)

    You can see the Plan D´ Estan trail (from a parking area to Pic de Sauvegarde trail head) runs behind the hotel - the trail we think ED took the morning of 21/11.

    upload_2021-3-12_10-4-53.png
     
    Zoomy, stmarysmead, KatzEye and 7 others like this.
  11. PeggyHenry

    PeggyHenry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1,383
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Good to get a reminder of the terrain. Hope for searches to resume soon. It looks pretty desolate at the moment
     
    Lucy6226 likes this.
  12. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

    Messages:
    6,023
    Likes Received:
    18,934
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I don't understand why ED didn't take the campervan instead of hitching there.
     
  13. Satchie

    Satchie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,500
    Likes Received:
    18,770
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I followed this case closely at the beginning, as I follow all missing hiker cases, on or off websleuths. I am a hiker and I know the risks, and the appeal. I follow the cases in the hopes that the hiker will soon be found alive and then, simply, found.

    Then I stop following the threads because they start to wander off the point. I check in every so often to see if there is any actual news. I am happy when the missing person is finally found. I can't recall any cases where there was any actual evidence of foul play.

    (ETA: I've been doing this since 2014 and the so called Dutch girls, missing in Panama in 2014.)
     
    Zoomy, sundaaaay, Sera and 5 others like this.
  14. IrisElizabeth

    IrisElizabeth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Yes I wondered that too. Was the hitching another way where Esther could depend on the kindness of strangers just for the sake of it? Another thing I still can't get my head around is the 4 day delay between the last communication that DC had with her, and the reporting of her missing. If your last conversation with someone had been 'all smiles' and talking about how much you were looking forward to seeing each other then surely a radio silence of more than 24 hours would have you in a panic? Especially if the other person was solo hiking in the mountains in winter, and even more so as DC and Esther's mother have said that she was usually in constant contact with them. Feels like there is a huge piece of information being withheld- possibly so as not to prejudice the investigation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
    Muva, j_in_c, stmarysmead and 7 others like this.
  15. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    1,266
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I agree, RickshawFan, that does seem odd. It is about a 8-9 mile hike / hitch from where ED's van was in Banasque to the Plan D´ Estan trail head where Ballarin dropped ED off late morning 21/11. Unless there are long-term parking restrictions at that trail head parking lot (or at the Hotel Hospital Banasque near the trail head), then you have to wonder about the logic of her decision to risk her well being by hitching a ride rather than just driving her van up to the trail head (or near-by).

    Could the van have run out of gas or have been very low on gas? If gasoline is also used for the generator (as it was in the motorhome I used to own) then that is a very important factor. Unless ED / DC had gigantic batteries in that motorhome, ED would either need to have plugged into a power source or run the generator to create electricity to operate water pumps, lights, cook-top, etc. Managing the power supply in an RV is critical. On 2/12 the dog walker took a picture of the van with lights on and that indicates to me the batteries in the van were charged. So perhaps the van did still have adequate gasoline and ED had been keeping her batteries fully charged.

    Another simple explanation could be ED just didn't want to change locations of her van - perhaps her return plan was easier if she left it where it was. Then what other explanations are there? It could be what IrisElizabeth suggested - ED liked to engage with strangers via hitching. Or what if others were using the van, like has been hypothesized here about the mysterious person(s) seen by the dogwalker in the van. Maybe ED had created some kind of community with fellow hikers by sharing her accommodations. And it was important to ED to leave the van accessible to her friends in a known location. But honestly, that seems far-fetched for simple reasons like sanitation, Covid exposure, and a very limited water and power supply. So then, what if someone was staying with ED in the van and they were still there when she left?

    Further, as I've opined before, perhaps ED was planning to return to the van the night of 21/11 or 22/11 and it made more sense to have it centrally located in Banasque. I still wonder if ED returned to her van on 21/11 rather than stay at the Cabane, as she told DC she did. She could have hung out there until her planned hike late on 22/11.

    But alas, these are all questions and suppositions we will likely never know the answer to. Though I suspect LE has pondered the very same question in their investigation.
     
  16. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

    Messages:
    6,023
    Likes Received:
    18,934
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The weird thing is, though, ED was getting COVID exposure by hitching. So, it would be difficult to say that she risked COVID exposure if she lent someone her campervan.

    If ED took the campervan and parked it at a trailhead, she could easily be found... No campervan nearby, and no one would have a clue where she was. That's exactly what's happened.
     
    Muva, IrisElizabeth, Lucy6226 and 3 others like this.
  17. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    1,266
    Trophy Points:
    93
    snipped for focus

    I concur with your curiosity about this IrisElizabeth - it does seem out of character for how the two of them interacted. But who is to know the specifics of their communications - certainly not us amateur sleuthers. That said, in DC's BBC Breakfast interview (I watched it again several times the other night), DC stated it was hard to go that long without contact but it was not uncommon that sometimes ED was out of contact for a day or two. He reported her missing on 25/11. So in fairness to this line of inquiry it was three days, not four days from when he last had contact with ED. But even three days seems like an awfully long time to wait for contact given the circumstances of ED's trek, as you state. And actually I have wondered if DC went looking for ED perhaps as soon as 23/11 because of the odd nature of her last texts or what he heard / saw in the video chat they had at 16:07 on 22/11. DC may have been worried about ED, hightailed to that area, looked for ED and couldn't find her. Then after a couple days of trying on his own, DC notified LE of his concerns that ED was missing. That may be something LE is well aware of but all have chosen not to share.

    BCC Breakfast Interview with Dan Colgate, 2/12/2020: https://twitter.com/i/status/1334061885759647745
     
    Zoomy, Tutter, RickshawFan and 4 others like this.
  18. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    1,266
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Yes, great point, RickshawFan. What if ED didn't want anyone to know where she was or at least didn't want her absence to be noticed too quickly? By leaving the van where it was ED could move about with a much smaller footprint and incognito if she was perhaps avoiding someone who scared her or was planning to disappear.
     
  19. PeggyHenry

    PeggyHenry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1,383
    Trophy Points:
    93
    That’s a really interesting point - the location of the campervan. Also the fact that you have to ensure energy supplies are catered for. Was she trying to conceal her location somehow or perhaps it was just convenient for her and allowed her to hitch and have social interactions. She did alert authorities that she’d be hiking in the area for a few days. Presumably that was to let them know so that no one would be bothered by her van.. or was it for her own well-being so that if she got lost they’d know where to find her?I don’t know which authority she alerted.
    Perhaps the van was parked there so that she felt less vulnerable. If she parked at trail head it might make her more of a target somehow.
     
  20. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,691
    Likes Received:
    7,591
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Very interesting point about the camper location. But let me state one opinion that I feel very confident about...ED had little concern about the Covid pandemic. This is not a judgement but rather IMO an important issue regarding her state of mind.

    I find myself reading the jubilant post about their successful return home in one day...hitching with so many strangers in enclosed vehicles. They had no fear. All over the world, people are on lockdown, unable to see family members, wiping down packages and wearing masks. But ED and Dan are hitching with complete strangers, sharing the same enclosed breathing space in their cars and trucks.

    I think of her requesting food from strangers not knowing how it might have been handled...whose hands or even mouth might have been on it. ED, highly educated as she is, has seemingly decided she is exempt from a disease that is ravaging the rest of the world. ED is not living in our world.

    It’s like as long as ED was up in the mountains the fears and worries of the real world did not exist. Dan enabled her to stay up and away all our pandemic summer...but she only could tolerate days...back in the real world when they returned.

    Her problem in returning is greater than Dan. It’s the world as we must accept it these days. I’m wondering if Dan had just become too centered in reality for ED. Too willing to conform to the requirements of Covid and Brexit. Too concerned about money. Perhaps she thought of her parents, much that she loves them, of submitting to the same. Did she feel they were all trying to confine her in this world that she refused to acknowledge? Just wondering....

    I’d like to know how often she alerted authorities in those last weeks about any multi days absences. Was this the first time? I’d like to know, as an experienced hiker, if Dan truly believed that she could not encounter WIFI anywhere in 3 days...on a trail “families use in the summer.”
     
    Zoomy, Muva, Ninja Bunny and 10 others like this.

Share This Page



  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice