BRIT backpacker Catherine Shaw has been confirmed dead by police after she vanished while hiking on a volcano in Guatemala.
Catherine, 23, from Oxfordshire was reported missing on March 5 and had been travelling since last September.
Guatemalan authorities have confirmed they believe a body found is Catherine’s after the news was announced by The Lucie Blackman Trust.
The Brit had been staying in the Lake Atitlan area of the central American country and was last seen by a friend the previous night.
In a statement on Twitter, police said: “Search teams have found the lifeless body of the missing English national and they are coordinating teams at the scene of the discovery in the mountainous area of Mirador – known as Nariz del Indio in San Juan La Laguna Solola.
“The case will now be handed over to the team that will carry out the criminal investigation, so as to find out what happened.”
“The body is believed to be Catherine”
The Lucie Blackman Trust
The Lucie Blackman Trust, a charity supporting the famiy, also confirmed the news – saying they “believe” the body is Catherine.
A statement said: “The Lucie Blackman Trust is saddened to announce that a body has been found in the search for Catherine Shaw.
“Formal identification has not taken place but the body is believed to be Catherine.
“Catherine’s family have been informed. Please respect their privacy at this difficult time.”
The charity said Ms Shaw had left the Eco Hotel in Mayachik, near San Pedro and San Juan, on March 5 at 1.37am, but then returned at 3.19am.
She then left again for the last time at 5.23am, heading in the direction of the lake.
The trust said that at this point she had a puppy with her but no other possessions.
The puppy was later found alone, shivering at the highest lookout of Indian Nose, a volcano overlooking Lake Atitlan, San Pedro and San Juan between 5am and 6am on Friday morning, the trust said.
A hand drum, known as a hang, previously reported to be in Catherine’s possession, was left behind and has been located.
The search encountered many challenges including communication issues due to lack of power in the area.
The trust said it had received many sightings of female travellers matching Catherine’s description, and it had become clear that there are at least three travellers similar to her hiking in the area.
Her father, who has travelled to Guatemala to join the search, also issued a heartbreaking statement, saying: “Your friends, your family are all really worried about you. Please come home, sweetheart.”