Body Of US Tourist Found Near ‘Camino De Santiago’ Pilgrimage Trail, Suspect Arrested

The body of US tourist Denise Pikka Thiem, who went missing while hiking the “Camino de Santiago” pilgrimage trail in April this year, has been found. A suspect has been arrested for her murder.

According to a police source, after resuming their search for Thiem, a 41-year-old woman from Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday, investigations led them to the suspect’s property, where her body was found.

The Inquisitr reported last week that Thiem’s parents appealed to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resume the search for their daughter, who had been missing since April, 2015.

Rajoy reportedly responded to the US tourist’s parents in Arizona, saying he “understands the pain of a family that does not know where their daughter is.”

It was also reported that U.S. Republican Senator John McCain had sent a letter to Rajoy, offering the cooperation of the FBI in solving Thiem’s disappearance.

The US tourist was last seen close to the northern town Astorga in León province on April 4 and, despite a search launched at the time, was nowhere to be found.

Spanish Police last week launched a new search for Thiem, deploying 300 officers along with dogs and a helicopter in a renewed attempt to find Thiem. They particularly focused on wells in the surrounding area.

According to the Spanish media on Friday, a police statement said the remains of the US tourist had been discovered on the property of the main suspect in the case in Astorga.

“A person has been arrested and the search has been suspended for the moment.”

The Guardian quotes Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz as telling the media that the remains found by police “seem to correspond to those of Denise and the man arrested yesterday (Friday) could be the perpetrator.”

A police statement said, “The suspect led the police to a body in an advanced state of decomposition hidden under branches.”

While saying that an autopsy would be carried out in a town close by, “Pending an examination, it appears that the body is that of the American pilgrim.”

El Pais(reporting in Spanish) also reported that police had found Thiem’s body on the suspect’s property in Astorga. Reportedly, the property covers a very large area and was ideal for hiding the body of the US tourist.


As the National Police believe they have the US tourist’s remains and the suspect in her murder, the search has now been called off.

“After months of intense research, our agents have located the body of Denise and arrested the alleged perpetrator. Great job.”

The “Camino de Santiago” is popular with many thousands of tourists and Roman Catholic pilgrims alike, who hike what is called in English the Way of Saint James, staying at pilgrim’s hostels along the way to the final destination, the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

According to a recent tweet, a pilgrim mass will be held for Denise Thiem at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday.

[Image: Screengrab from YouTube video]