03 June 2015
Camino pilgrims warned after disappearance of a woman
Pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela have been warned not to venture alone on a section of the path where an American woman has disappeared, and other walkers have reported assaults.
Ivar Rekve, the administrator one of the pilgrimage’s largest English-speaking online forums, said incidents of “improper behaviour” had been reported on a 15-mile stretch between the Spanish towns of Astorga and Rabanal.
He said pilgrims should walk in pairs or groups. The camino was, he said, a very safe place “but it only takes a few to make the situation more uncertain”.
This was the area where Denise Thiem, a 41-year-old pilgrim from Arizona, went missing on 5 April. She was last seen near the church of Santa Marta in Astorga, 150 miles east of Santiago; according to her brother Cedric she was hoping the walk would give her “more balance in her life”.
Two months after her disappearance Spanish police say the investigation remains open, and family and friends have also organised their own searches of the area.
Top: An appeal for Ms Thiem, and above: Pilgrims walking along the Camino de Santiago. Photo: Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
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