Cou­ple found 75 years after dis­ap­pear­ance

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

GENEVA — The bod­ies of a Swiss cou­ple that dis­ap­peared in the Alps 75 years ago have been found pre­served in a re­ced­ing glacier, end­ing decades of un­cer­tainty for their fam­ily, rel­a­tives and me­dia said on Tues­day.

The bod­ies were found ly­ing near each other in the Di­ablerets mas­sif in south­ern Switzer­land on Thurs­day, along with back­packs, a bot­tle, a book and a watch, ac­cord­ing to Le Matin daily.

Valais can­ton (state) po­lice said on Wed­nes­day that forensic ex­perts us­ing DNA anal­y­sis iden­ti­fied the two as Marcelin Du­moulin and his wife, Francine, who went miss­ing on Au­gust 15, 1942.

Marcelin, a 40-year-old shoe­maker at the time, and his wife Francine, a school­teacher aged 37, had left their vil­lage of Chan­dolin in Valais can­ton on foot be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing, or­phan­ing five sons and two daugh­ters.

Their daugh­ter, Monique Du­moulin, said it was the first time her mother had joined her fa­ther for that type of ex­cur­sion. She had pre­vi­ously al­ways stayed home, ei­ther be­cause she was preg­nant, or to look after her young chil­dren.

The cou­ple had been hop­ing to make an overnight trip to check on their cattle, which were be­ing kept in an alpine pas­ture.

Monique Du­moulin said that the sky had been clear when her par­ents set out, but that clouds later dark­ened the area, likely mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to en­sure solid foot­ing on the glacier’s sur­face.

Pre­served in glacier

The bod­ies were found on Tsan­fleu­ron, a glacier at an al­ti­tude of 2,600 me­ters by an em­ployee of the Glacier 3000 ski re­sort, the re­sort’s di­rec­tor, Bernard Tschan­nen, told Le Matin.

“It was a man and a woman wear­ing clothes from World War II,” Tschan­nen was quoted as say­ing. “The ice pre­served them per­fectly and their be­long­ings were in­tact.”

Marce­line Udry-Du­moulin, who was 4 the day her par­ents went miss­ing, told Le Matin that she climbed the glacier three times after their dis­ap­pear­ance, “con­stantly won­der­ing what had hap­pened to them”.

Grand­daugh­ter Mary­line Du­moulin said that aside from the DNA tests, her grand­fa­ther’s dis­tinc­tive watch and back­pack, which he made him­self, could help iden­tify the bod­ies.

She said her two aunts — her grand­par­ents’ only sur­viv­ing chil­dren — were “happy they will fi­nally be able to mourn.”

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