After months of searching for Denise Thiem, the missing Litchfield Park woman who disappeared from a hike on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain, a man has been arrested after a body was discovered on his property.
Denise Thiem, 41, went missing in April while hiking the Camino de Santiago, a popular hiking trail that leads to a cathedral in Spain’s northwest corner. According to the Chicago Tribune, the FBI and 300 police and military personnel were involved in her search.
— Amy B Wang (@amybwang) September 11, 2015
But now, five months later, Miguel Angel Munoz, 39, has been arrested as the prime suspect in the Camino de Santiago disappearance of Denise Thiem. According to the Arizona Republic, Spanish TV showed footage of officers taking Munoz away from a small apartment building on Friday.
El Pais reported that on Friday, a badly decomposed body was found on Munoz’s property near the Camino de Santiago. Officials have yet to identify the body as Denise Thiem. Locals in the area said Munoz was not a friendly person, and had numerous confrontations with others in the area.
“He used to go down the Camino de Santiago to Astorga on his bicycle and harassed some of the female pilgrims,” said one local. “He sniffed them out,” said another. “He hasn’t been seen around here for eight days or so.”
— El Bierzo Digital (@ElBierzoDigital) September 11, 2015
The Chicago Tribune reports that after Munoz was arrested, he led investigators to his small farm near the Camino de Santiago.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote to United States Arizona Senator, John McCain, to inform him of the discovery.
“The main suspect was arrested by the National Police and he confessed to them where Denise’s body was to be found. I want to convey the sorrow of the Spanish people for this tragic outcome.”
Denise Thiem was last seem on April 5 in the town of Astorga. Thiem’s disappearance has brought about concern about the safety of the pilgrimage routes, but Spanish tourism officials assure the public that the Camino de Santiago trail is very safe.
According to the Arizona Republic, the family of Denise Thiem released an official statement on Saturday.
“The family of Denise Thiem wishes to acknowledge the professionalism, skill and dedication of the Spanish National Police that led to the actions taken yesterday. They also wish to thank the Spanish people for their many prayers and heartfelt expressions of hope and concern during this long, painful ordeal of not knowing what happened to Denise. Finally, the family hopes that the body which the police recovered on September 11, 2015 can be identified quickly, and, if it is their beloved Denise, returned to the United States without delay so they and her friends can honor her life and conduct a proper and reverent burial.”
[Images via YouTube Screenshot / Help Find Denise Thiem Facebook Page]