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

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

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  1. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

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    Well summarized, SMM! And awesome sleuthing today by you and others, especially our expert and experienced hikers!

    Where ED was and what she was doing between 22/10 and 22/11 is starting to become much clearer to us all.

    DC's dossier provides us with a lot of that information, but the analysis here done by others on ED's social media has provided a much clearer and perhaps more realistic picture of that month. Trying not to repeat things already stated, I have 8 key suppositions rattling around in my mind, IMO, and with only respect for ED and DC:

    1. ED's month away was not an intended solo trek by her. It was an assortment of biking and hiking adventures in France and Spain after she abruptly left DC on 22/10.

    2. ED / DC maintained their business that month marketing their books, ED continuing to hike and post pics, prepping for the Olive (19/11) and BBC (22/11) articles.

    3. ED may have had a great deal of ambivalence about continuing that persona - especially in light of their relationship status and their dogs being placed elsewhere.

    4. ED struggled with planning and provisions, and was ill-prepared for any advanced solo overnight treks. I think she knew that and was reluctant and scared to do so.

    5. ED may also have never planned on returning to DC on 25/11, but rather was planning her new life (or her death) as the end of her freedom was nipping at her heels.

    6. ED was not actually planning on a multi-day hike when she left her van on 21/11 or when she summited the col on 22/11, despite what she may have told DC or LE.

    7. ED was emotionally fragile and likely trying to manage her mental health challenges on her own. Distance from DC may have helped, but perhaps not enough.

    8. DC and the LE know a lot more than the public about ED's communications with others from her email, phone, and messaging data - at least I hope so!

    So where does this leave my theories on this case? In order of probability, IMO these are my leading theories at the moment...

    A. ED committed suicide in a concealed location, likely on the France side (possibly in Boum de Vanesque),
    B. ED was attempting to voluntarily disappear with a 'friend' and was either tragically killed by that person or by someone else as she hitched her way to that friend,
    C. ED successfully voluntary disappeared with a friend and for some reason is concealed by her choice (hence no credit card, phone, contact or social media trace)​
     


  2. BobbleBob

    BobbleBob Well-Known Member

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    These are all just my own speculation (and examples from personal experience).


    snipped and bolded by me

    My understanding of SAR (from what’s been said on this tread and from talking previously with a friend’s father who was one - inland water based vs mountain) they first search to rescue a living person, THEN they search to recover a body. SAR would have initially only looked where they believed Esther could have survived as they knew they had a limited window for a rescue (better approaching snow and the time in the mountains in the cold without food/water). After that (so in this case in the spring) they would begin the search to recover her.
    I would t expect them to search every square inch, only where they would expect Esther to be based on her planned route and also where she might have fell.


    With the dossier, having written something similar myself there’s a lot that won’t be included - in my case I didn’t want to talk about it/have it public or it just wasn’t relevant to the issue at hand. People always like to paint a picture or the victim from their happy memory, it might not be 100% honest or accurate or it might gloss over different things, or simply be inaccurate (for example both Dan’s and Esther’s skills in the back country).
    LE can be very helpful and a veritable fountain of information, but in general they won’t share with non-LE as it’s not their procedure and they don’t want anyone interfering with/contaminating possible evidence or a crime scene. OR they don’t tell you anything until their investigation is completed and they hand you the report.

    The last part in bold is what I’m now thinking happened. Esther has planned to meet some hikers from previous hikes for another over night with them, but perhaps they had to cancel or maybe Esther did. And then on the way off the trail, perhaps back down to the trail head Esther had an accident or succumbed to hypothermia in the night.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  3. Puzzles

    Puzzles Well-Known Member

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    With commendable clarity you've outlined believable conclusions, @RedHaus. I think you speak for a few of us here on this thread, @RedHaus, and I, for one, concur with all your suppositions as well as your theories – and their order of probability.
     
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  4. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Snipped for focus.

    If her pack is beside her, we might be able to make a guess. If her pack is on, not so much.

    The problem with setting aside the accident theory:
    1. SAR was searching, evidently, where DC offered testimonial that ED went, because she'd have told him, she always went where she said, etc. On the contrary, our discussion above underlines how elusive she was in that last month.
    2. Accident victims in the mountains often don't turn up, and when they do, it's frequently a serendipitous find, sometimes years later.

    That's my piece.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  5. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Snipped for focus

    Continued SAR search when the snow clears would also be worded like this. This seems to me very cagey wording. Maybe LE told DC something like that and the dossier implied the search was over or wanted to convey as much. But, since this seems to echo LE wording, I never took this to mean criminal investigation, abduction, 3rd party anything. I took it to mean the search is still under LE purview and it will continue until more answers are found, including searching mountains. LE has pointedly said the mountain search is not over and will re-commence in spring.
    I keep in mind the search was focused where DC said ED was. IMO it's likely she never went down to the Refuge, la Glère, any of that. LE is clear she wasn't in the Refuge, and she likely isn't in that area (which evidently they searched intensively) that would be referred to as "the mountain", I suppose, but there are many mountains..... You can never do a complete search of mountains. It's not possible. And the territory LE covered was HUGE.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  6. Puzzles

    Puzzles Well-Known Member

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    Respectfully snipped for focus.

    Hi @RickshawFan,

    I'm a bit hazy on what you mean here when you write, "I never took this to mean criminal investigation," but IIRC, way back on another thread we discussed having learned a criminal investigation had been launched, but I don't remember the source for that.

    Please tell us more about your thinking on this, @RickshawFan.

    There was an article in the DM, which included this alleged statement from DC,
    '...When it became a criminal case, I was then interviewed by the Spanish criminal investigation team on Wednesday 2nd December.

    'The French criminal investigation team visited me at the house on Monday 7th December. I have not been 'quizzed' three times...

    Do we grant enough credibility to the DM, and/or DC, to accept there's a criminal investigation?


    Family of missing hiker who vanished in the Pyrenees three weeks ago issue desperate plea | Daily Mail Online
     
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  7. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Snipped for focus

    My context was important. I wasn't referring to the introductory phases of the search that were termed "criminal investigation". (By the way, did LE ever call it that?) I was referring to the statement in the dossier that close parties had non-public information that might involve something nefarious.
    I only meant that the dossier sentence referring to an LE investigation and how the dossier writer is privy to non-public information, simply told me LE hasn't closed the case. They already said they planned to continue the mountain search after snow-melt. I never took ANY LE language to mean anything other than "we haven't closed the case". It doesn't mean, IMO, they are looking at anything other than an accident except maybe in a routine sort of way.
    Hope that clarifies. I don't see anything to suggest that LE has given up on a mountain accident and directed its energy to some kind of 3rd party involvement. The dossier might want to read LE wording that way, but I'm not sure why anyone else has to.
     
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  8. ZaZara

    ZaZara AstraZaZara

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    Not only can a criminal investigation be started WHEN a crime has been committed, but also to investigate IF a crime has been committed. In time, IF may of course turn to WHEN.

    Esther's is a case of IF.

    IMO this has been mentioned before, and I hope that repeating this info helps, leading to different results.
     
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  9. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

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    @RickshawFan, you always make excellent points and I certainly can't disagree with the long standing accident theory for ED, which I believe many others here also believe. And I used to be right with you all. I think what has shifted for me is the supposition that all ED did 22/11 was hike up to the col and down. When I believed ED went on a multi-day trek with the concerns we have for her preparation, capability and mental state, I easily accepted the accident theory. But now that I consider how limited her time may have been on the trails those last two days (21-22/11) and how straight forward it all was, I have lowered the probability of an accident.

    Now, if on 23/11 ED wondered onto the Maledeta Glacier to explore, well, then an accident theory surely rises to the top of my list again!

    Of course, this is just my humble opinion....
     
  10. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    How about an accident between the Port and the Cabane? Or between the Port and the Hôpital?
     
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  11. The_Investigator

    The_Investigator Former Member

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    I’m starting to get the impression she wasn’t keen to hike at all during that month, it was just to get away from stresses at the remote farm house and be with others,.. bet she went straight back down after the pretend route explanation from the top of the pic and off down to see a new friend/friends at the van or more realistically , she was getting picked up ? Hence some overnight stuff, but not for a hike she told Dan she was doing but for one thing else with others.
     
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  12. jenpil

    jenpil Former Member

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    Surely statistically, an accident is overwhelmingly more likely than a kidnapping/murder.

    It's hardly an area known for extreme criminal activity, there were few people about due to both the time of day and the time of year, and the type of people that do this hiking are a small percentage of the population.

    In Europe, the chances of getting killed up a mountain on a hiking trail must be remote. In the US, with guns, I could understand it more.
     
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  13. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    It's still very very rare in the US to suffer crime in the backcountry. I'm more likely to get shot on the streets of Atlanta. And 1000x more likely if I worked in a school.

    I'm really thinking "stranger danger" is EXTREMELY unlikely in this case.
     
  14. jenpil

    jenpil Former Member

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    It's nearly mid March. When do you think the SAR teams will start searching again?
     
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  15. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    June
     
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  16. jenpil

    jenpil Former Member

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    June, wow, that really is quite late on in the year. I was hoping the snow may start to disappear by the end of April, but I suppose the snow will have to be completely gone to have the best chance of finding anything.
     
  17. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    It's very high there. It can snow at any time in the Pyrenees.

    Compare with the Oregon Cascades. Crater Lake regularly gets 42 feet (13 meters) piled up. It is 2166 meters elevation at the lodge. That's 7106 feet. Deep snow goes through June. You get to snowshoe if you come then!

    By comparison, Benasque is 1518 meters elevation, and the Pic de Sauvegarde is 2727 meters.

    National Park Service Photo from Crater Lake: IIRC the plows enter the Park in May, so this is probably May! They use special snowplows!
     

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  18. RedHaus

    RedHaus Well-Known Member

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    @jenpil, here is a webcam at Super Bagneres ski area, just beyond the Hospice de France, near Luchon: Apical Technologies - Neos 360 - Panoramique HD

    Not sure if you've seen this before, but we were examining this webcam early on, actually looking at historical stills from 22-23/11. Anyhow, I keep peeking here because I think it is a reasonable way to keep track of the snowpack. From what I've seen lately, the snow appears to be disappearing rather quickly, at least below the peaks....

    Here is a still shot from that webcam at 2021/03/04 - 12h30... use the little calendar icon under the video display to access historical images.

    upload_2021-3-5_22-42-16.png
     
  19. jenpil

    jenpil Former Member

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    Thanks RedHaus and RickshawFan, that's excellent. I appreciate you're work giving me clarity on the snow situation.

    Just had a look, what a brilliant webcam, one of the best I've seen! The calendar bit at the bottom was great. Very useful.

    Pic de Sauvegarde is higher than I thought.
    The snow does hang around for a lot later on in the year than I imagined too....and Crater Lake in May, just wow! That's deep snow.
     
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  20. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    There's no snow???? Wow! Global warming.... How high is this?
     
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