Human remains found in Pyrenees confirmed as those of missing British hiker

Human remains found in the search for British hiker Esther Dingley have been confirmed as hers.

The Durham-born walker was last seen setting off on a solo journey on November 22, 2020, and hadn’t been seen since.

Remote regions of the Pyrenees have been extensively searched but until last week there was no sign of her.

Human remains were found on July 23 and now Esther’s family have received the agonising the news they are hers.

Her mum Ria Dingley and boyfriend Dan Colegate announced the news in a statement through support group LBT Global.

They said: ‘We are distraught to report that we have received DNA confirmation that one of the bones found last week belongs to Esther.

‘We have all known for many months that the chance we would get to hug our beloved Esther again, to feel her warm hand in ours, to see her beautiful smile and to watch the room light up again whenever she arrived was tiny, but with this confirmation that small hope has now faded. It is devastating beyond words.

‘At this stage, with just a single bone found and no sign of equipment or clothing in the immediate area (which has been closely searched again over several days), the details of what happened and where still remain unknown.

‘The search and rescue teams intend to continue their search on foot and with drones, particularly trying to find some sign of Esther’s equipment to understand how this tragedy occurred.

‘The family would like to express their gratitude to the officers in charge of the various police units in France and Spain, the British consulates in Bordeaux and Barcelona, and LBT Global, all of whom have remained in close contact with us for months now. Their continued support and their determination to find answers is welcome.’

The remains were first spotted on the Spanish side of the border by a mountain runner at around 2pm on July 23, before French authorities were alerted.

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