French police investigating the disappearance of missing Brit hiker Esther Dingley have done ‘all they can’ and may call off the search until Spring.
A huge search operation was launched to find the missing 37-year-old who vanished in the Pyrenees last year.
She had gone on a solo walking trip near the Spanish and French border and was last seen on November 22.
Speaking of the latest efforts French police captain Jean Marc Bordinaro told The Times “all possible investigations” in French territory have been carried out “without any result.”
He said: “We have no indication permitting us to confirm the presence of Esther Dingley in France since she was seen for the last time on the Spanish side of the Pic de Sauvegarde.
Ms Dingley’s partner Daniel Colegate, who had been hiking with her but was house-sitting at a French farmhouse on November 22, said earlier this month he did not believe she fell or had some other kind of accident.
He also dismissed suggestions she could have voluntarily disappeared.
In a heartbreaking interview, Mr Colegate told the Sunday Mirror last month: “Since Esther went missing I’ve been lost in a world that no longer makes sense to me.
He said: “The pain of her disappearance is excruciating – but even that pales into insignificance against the pain of not knowing.
“It’s crippling. The nightmares, the constant questioning, the helplessness. Every aspect of my life and the future I dream of includes Esther.”
The couple quit their settled life in Co Durham to travel abroad in a motorhome with their five dogs after Dan had a health scare in 2014.
They blogged about their adventures, clocking up “a thousand moments” to cherish, he said.
Dan added: “Every morning we’d wake up and say out loud, ‘What adventures shall we have today?’
“But the more we travelled, the less the physical adventures mattered as much as the fact we were doing it together and living in the moment.”
Since Esther’s disappearance, his research with British charity LBT Global has resulted in a dossier outlining three theories – an accident, that Esther went missing on purpose, or that someone else harmed her.
Writing on Facebook, Mr Colegate denied the idea Ms Dingley would spark a major search operation by vanishing, rather than simply telling him she needed time alone.
He said: “All of which leads me to believe that somebody else has been involved in Esther’s disappearance and against her will.
“This is a terrifying prospect and I wish I could believe otherwise, but I cannot.”
The couple, who have been together for almost 19 years, met at Oxford University and lived in Durham before they set off travelling around Europe in a camper van six years ago.