Authorities investigating the disappearance of British hiker Esther Dingley in the Pyrenees have come across a bizarre twist.
A witness claims they spotted someone sleeping in Esther’s campervan, 10 days after she vanished.
The witness, a local dog walker called Lucia, claims she saw a figure asleep on the back seat of the hiker’s Fiat Chausson in Benasque, on December 2.
The 37-year-old hiker vanished during a hike in the Pyrenees on November 22. She has not been heard from since sending a selfie to her boyfriend, Daniel Colegate.
“I saw someone sleeping in the back of the caravan car and I couldn’t believe it. I first saw the light on when I took my dog out about 7pm. It seemed a bit strange,” Lucia told the Daily Mail.
“Then I took the dog out again about 10pm and I took a closer look. I could see someone asleep in the back of the van. They were lying down. They were not moving. They were lying quite still,” she added.
Lucia claims to have been “fobbed off” by Spanish authorities after she raised her concerns with them.
The van was impounded three days after that sighting and it is still in the police compound.
Police continue to investigate the hiker’s disappearance and have interrogated her 38-year-old boyfriend three times now.
According to police, he is a witness and not a suspect, but authorities added her home life was not as “idyllic” as her social media posts suggested.
“We interviewed Daniel Colegate at the farmhouse where he is living in the Gers department on Monday,” Capitaine Bordinaro told the Daily Mail.
“We want to investigate all possibilities. We do not rule out any line of inquiry.
“But it does not seem probable that Esther suffered an accident, and it is not credible that she was eaten by a bear or that she has fallen into a lake.”
Just before going missing, Esther sent a selfie at a summit to her partner, who was 160km away.
Esther’s aunt, Elizabeth Wolsey Morgan, agrees with authorities who say her disappearance does not seem like a mountain accident.
“She’s a strong girl and the thing is, the longer it goes on, you wonder has she been kidnapped?” she told the Mirror.
“If she had an accident they would have probably found her. I feel like I’m living a nightmare. Her father Henry is broken.
“She’s his only daughter. He’s in pieces.”
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