A charity representing the family of a British hiker says it is “aware of the discovery” of possible human remains close to where the woman went missing in the Pyrenees.
Esther Dingley, 37, was seen on 22 November as she walked alone in the mountains near the Spanish and French border.
LBT Global, which supports people with family members missing overseas, said it was “aware of the discovery of what may be human remains close to the last known location of Esther Dingley”.
“We are urgently seeking clarification. The family has been informed of the discovery, and we are supporting them now,” it said in a statement posted on social media.
The charity said until further details are confirmed, there would be no statement or interviews with Ms Dingley’s family, adding developments “may take days or even weeks”.
The development followed a report in the Daily Mirror that stated Spanish police sources had said “human bones” were found on Friday near where the Durham woman disappeared.
The paper also quoted French police chief Jean Marc Bordinaro as saying: “We cannot say anything at the moment because the discovery of the bones is too recent and they must be properly analysed.”
Mr Bordinaro told The Times in February “all possible investigations” in French territory have been carried out “without any result”.
But days later, her partner Daniel Colegate, who had been hiking with Ms Dingley but was house-sitting at a French farmhouse on the day she was last seen, said the investigation was continuing.
Mr Colegate said at the time he believed Ms Dingley’s disappearance was not accidental, a thought he described as “terrifying”.
He reiterated that sentiment in a Facebook post on 17 July.
“I sincerely wish that it was possible to fully convey all of the facts that make me doubt that Esther has suffered an accident in a concise manner that could be shared here,” he said.
“However, as I have experienced frequently in the past months, until people visit the area and see the trails/terrain, it just doesn’t seem possible to provide a full understanding, no matter how much I write and share.
“As police continue to try to get a better understanding of who else was in the area in the days following Esther’s last contact, I will continue to search, ruling out even the most unfeasible of areas one at a time.”
The couple, who have been together for almost two decades, met at Oxford University and lived in Durham before leaving in 2014 to travel around Europe in a campervan.
Additional reporting by Press Association
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies