British backpacker Catherine Shaw is believed to have stripped naked while hiking on a Guatemalan volcano to watch the sunrise before a fatal fall.

Facebook / Catherine Shaw

The 23-year-old from Witney, Oxfordshire was reported missing on March 5 after she left Hotel Mayachik, near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The search and rescue mission came to an end on Monday after police discovered her body 20 meters from the top of the Indian Nose hiking trail.

Leaked photos purportedly from the scene showed evidence of blows to Shaw’s body, sparking rumors of murder. These were intensified by Guatemalan authorities, who said there would be a “criminal probe” into her death. Post mortem results revealed Shaw had died four to six days before she was found of haemorrhaging resulting from a traumatic brain injury.

However, foul play was “probably not involved,” according to the Lucie Blackman Trust – a charity for overseas British victims which had been supporting Catherine’s family. The charity called for speculation surrounding Shaw’s death to end, claiming that her death was nothing more than a “tragic accident.”

It’s believed that Shaw was traveling to the top of the volcano to view the sunrise, and either fell or passed out while hiking. Catherine’s parents Ann and Tarquin thanked locals who found their daughter and said she “died doing what she loved.”

“Catherine just loved mountains and sunrises. She died doing what she loved. We want to say how hugely indebted we are to the Lucie Blackman Trust, who have done everything possible,” the statement read.

Shaw’s parents described Catherine as a “nature lover” who had been fasting for days leading up to the hike, and added that it was “quite conceivable that she went up the mountain to greet the sunrise, shedding clothing as she went,” and passed out or fell due to not having consumed food or fluids, causing the blows to her body.

“Whilst of course at this stage we do not know the full facts, and cannot rule anything out until we do, it is wrong to assume and of course confirm that she was raped and murdered by a mystery assailant when such facts are not evident.

“Facebook posts analyzing photographs of poor Catherine’s body are totally unacceptable,” they added.

The owner of the Eco Hotel Mayachik alleged that Shaw may have been under the influence of marijuana-laced cookies at the time of her hike. The owner claimed Shaw was suffering from nightmares and hallucinations as a result of the cookies.

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Read the full report at RT.com


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