Police hunting missing Brit hiker Esther Dingley to hold summit over her disappearance
FRENCH and Spanish police hunting missing Brit hiker Esther Dingley are to hold a summit on her mystery disappearance after failing to find no trace of her.
Esther, 37, vanished more than three weeks ago while on a solo hike in the Pyrenees which straddle France and Spain and was last heard of on November 22.
She sent boyfriend Dan Colegate a picture of herself on top of the 2738m Pico Salvaguardia and was due to return to their shared farmhouse home in Gascony, south-west France, three days later but failed to show up leaving him and cops baffled.
French police captain Jean Marc Bordinaro confirmed to The Sun he would be having a crunch meeting with Spanish colleagues later this week at a secret location after bad weather halted the search.
Investigators are looking at the possibility that she had an accident or fell victim to a criminal act.
Capt Bordinaro has admitted the possibility that travel blogger suffered a mountain accident is a “strong” one.
While Spanish Civil Guard cops have only admitted publicly “all options are open” but have said privately they feel the mountain accident hypothesis is the “most likely.”
Mr Bordinaro confirmed: “French officers probing Esther disappearance will meet with detectives from Huesca in Spain later this week.
“The meeting will be a face-to-face one and will take place in Spain but the day has yet to be finalised.
"We are exchanging information on a regular basis but this will be a good chance to pinpoint exactly what has been done so far and decide where we go from here.
“Because of the suspension of the mountain search we are focusing on two lines of inquiry at the moment which are that she disappeared voluntarily or someone else had a hand in her disappearance.''
Expert mountain guide Patrice Lagleize, who has been involved in mountain rescue for 30 years, told The Sun: ''I am convinced she either had an accident or fell ill while at the summit.
''The weather that day was very warm, it was 20C in the morning and people were hiking in shorts but by the end of the day it had dropped on the French side to just below freezing – a sudden drop in temperature like that could easily have caught her out.
''What is strange though is that even though this is the most likely outcome no trace of her has been found but with the bad weather now it will be many weeks before more thorough searches can take place.
''Sadly people have gone missing before in those mountains and they do eventually turn up when their bodies are found after the snow melts but one thing for sure is that she is unlikely to have been attacked by a bear or fallen into a lake.''
Esther’s devastated boyfriend has blasted claims by French police there was “tension” in their relationship and she had wanted to carry on with their nomadic lifestyle despite his desire to settle down.
The claim has fuelled speculation she may have wanted to disappear which Mr Bordinaro has admitted they have not yet been able to eliminate.
He said the Gendarmerie had no current plans to question Oxford graduate Mr Colegate again to see if he could offer any more clues to Esther’s whereabouts.
He has already been spoken to twice by French police and once by Spanish police as a witness.
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