Police considering ‘voluntary disappearance’ in case of missing hiker Esther Dingley
Authorities searching for a British woman who went missing while hiking in the Pyrenees are reportedly considering the possibility she has deliberately disappeared because her nomadic lifestyle was about to end. Esther Dingley and Dan Colegate had been travelling throughout Europe since 2014 and she was expected to return from a solo trek on December 2. The 37-year-old set out to hike from the Port de la Glere to the Port de Venasque, a trek which follows the border between France and Spain, according to local police. Captain Jean-Marc Bordinaro of France’s Gendarmerie de Saint-Gaudens told The Times: “Esther Dingley wanted to continue with her current way of life, journeys in a camper van and sporting activities including hiking, whilst Daniel Colegate seems a little tired of this nomadic life.” He added: “Did Esther Dingley want to go off on her own to live her life and organise her own disappearance? There is nothing enabling us to eliminate this working theory.” A spokesman for missing persons charity LBT Global, which is assisting Mr Colegate, told The Times “there is absolutely no suggestion that (Ms Dingley) was seeking ‘another life”‘. Mr Colegate said in a Facebook post on December 1 that the “prevailing opinion” of authorities was Ms Dingley was not in the mountains following extensive searches. She is now listed as a national missing person in Spain and her case has been passed to “a specialised judicial unit in France”, Mr Colegate added. “As things stand tonight, Esther is now listed as a national missing persons case in Spain and the case has been passed to a specialised judicial unit in France. “This means they will be looking at other options beyond a mountain accident.” Mr Colegate said he was “very grateful” for the extensive efforts of rescue teams in Spain and France, which had utilised helicopters, dogs and a drone. “While this is a terrifying development in many ways, I’m trying to focus on the fact that it leaves the door open that Esther might still come home,” he said in the post. “She was so utterly happy and joyful when we last spoke, I’d do anything to see her face and hold her right now.” The couple, from Durham, started to travel after Mr Colegate had a serious health scare, and had been documenting their campervan adventures online. A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesman has previously said its staff were “supporting the family of a British woman reported missing in the Pyrenees and are in contact with the French and Spanish authorities”.