Heartbreak as body of missing Brit backpacker Catherine Shaw is found after she vanished from Guatemala hotel at 5am

Earlier, searchers found Catherine Shaw's jacket and her puppy “shivering and alone” on a volcano.



Both were discovered a short hike from the Mayachik eco-hotel, where Catherine, 23, was reported missing in Guatemala during the early hours of March 5.

In a statement tonight, the Lucie Blackman Trust said that it was "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."

Catherine, of Witney, Oxfordshire,  was last seen on March 4 and had been staying in the San Pedro, Lake Atitlan area of the central American country with a friend.

The trust, which has been supporting the missing Brit's family in the UK, had confirmed today that “a jacket has been found at San Juan La Laguna in the search for Catherine Shaw.

“This jacket has been positively identified as belonging to Catherine. Search efforts are being redeployed and intensified in this area.”

Catherine's last recorded moments

Trust chief executive, Matthew Searle, said earlier that "some clarity has now been formed around Catherine’s last recorded movements."

It had "been confirmed" that Catherine "did leave the Eco Hotel in Mayachik near to San Pedro and San Juan" at 1.37am on March 5.

But, the backpacker returned at 3.19am, and "left again for the last time at 5.23am, heading in the direction of the lake.

"At this point she had a puppy with her but no other possessions."

Initial reports said that she was filmed on CCTV wandering out of the Guatemala hotel carrying a musical instrument, said to be a hand drum – or "hang".

However, the Lucie Blackman Trust has clarified that the instrument "was left behind and has been located."

The trust said that searches resulted in her "puppy [being] recovered alone, shivering at the highest lookout of Indian Nose, a volcano overlooking Lake Atitlan, San Pedro and San Juan between 0500 and 0600 hrs on Friday morning.

"Three search teams have been active around the location but nothing has been found.

"Specialist dive teams have been searching the shores of Lake Atitlan at Las Cristalinas in the direction of San Pedro, a search taking nine hours."

Indian Nose is one of the most-hiked mountains on the lake, from where visitors can enjoy the sunrise and see the volcanic chain of Guatemala, according to Lonely Planet.

Almost 3,000 metres high, it's also called Rupalaj K'istalin, and it takes about 1.5 to two hours to hike from the base of San Juan La Laguna to the top.

Matthew said that search operations "have been ongoing in the areas surrounding Catherine’s last known locations.

"Resources including helicopter with infra-red technologies, drones, divers and canine search and rescue teams are being deployed.

"The search has encountered many challenges including communication issues due to lack of power in the area."

He added that the charity had "received many sightings of female travellers matching Catherine’s description".

A fundraising page was recently set up to help the family with mounting search costs.

"Desperately worried"

Catherine’s father travelled to Guatemala to join the search and was to be met by British Embassy officials on arrival, Matthew added.

Her parents had been reported as being "desperately worried" after their daughter abruptly left the hotel without telling her travel buddy.

In a Twitter video, her dad Tarquin and mum Ann said: “Your friends, your family are all really worried about you, please come home sweetheart.”

Blonde Catherine had been travelling since September last year and had previously visited Mexico and California.

All her belongings, including her passport and mobile phone, were left at the hotel, and her friend raised the alarm when she woke in the morning of March 5, and saw she wasn't there.

A worker at the hotel where Catherine was staying said staff tried to fathom why she had left alone in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

She said: “The cameras show she was with her friend Elena for about an hour opposite a bungalow and then she played the musical instrument she left with after Elena went to bed.

“The instrument she was playing was a Hang and people who had seen her with it earlier described it as having a black case. You can’t see on the CCTV what Catherine was wearing.

“San Juan la Laguna is very safe and quiet and we don’t suspect at this stage anything bad has happened to Catherine.

“We just think she’s got lost somewhere and hope she can be found as soon as possible.”

The worker added: “Catherine was sharing a room with about four or five other people. She had checked in with Elena and my understanding is Elena checked out on Tuesday morning.

Asked if anything untoward had happened before the Brit backpacker vanished from the hotel, she said: “We didn’t notice anything. Everything seemed normal.”

Italian Elena Consolini played the drums with her for a while but said her friend had given away her belongings in the days before she disappeared.

She posted on Facebook: “Saw her really sad with not much power. In the past week she got rid of a lot of her stuff.

“Nothing material matter anymore. No stupid stuff. Nothing. Just being in the moment.”

In a statement released through the trust at the weekend, at the start of the search, her parents said they had been "desperately worried" since her disappearance.

They said: "She has always been really good about keeping in touch and informing us of her whereabouts and activities.

"So this is unusual behaviour which gives us great concern for her safety. Please help us to find her."

Your friends, your family are all really worried about you, please come home sweetheart.

In a video, her mother urged her daughter to get in touch as they needed to know she was happy and well, while her father described her as of "slim build, and about 5ft 7in tall".

Cops in Guatemala are understood to have been informed about Catherine’s disappearance on Thursday.

Local reports said officers from Guatemala’s National Civil Police went to Mayachik where Catherine was staying.

A search along the shoreline of Lake Atitlan and the hills around the village was subsequently ordered.

Also, a national alert system known in the Central American country as the Isabel-Claudina alert was immediately raised.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the department was supporting the family and that officials were "in contact with the local authorities as they search for her".

Catherine’s friends have also launched a social media fundraising appeal, raising more than £2,600 so far to support the search for her.





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