The Search for Missing French Tourist Seems to Have Come to a Tragic End

Total Croatia News

Anne-Cecile Pinel has just turned 23 in July 2014, when she arrived in Croatia for the Memento Demento festival. She was last seen on the evening of July 21st, when she told a friend she was just going for a walk. Over 3 years later, it seems that at least a part of the mystery of what happened to her has been solved.

Last week, a group of hunters found what they suspected might be human remains while walking through the village of Tržić Tounjski, less than two kilometers from the village where the Memento Demento festival was held.

Although no official confirmation has yet been given by the Centre for Forensics, where the remains have been taken, it is widely reported that those remains are in fact related to the young French woman’s disappearance, as many details seem to connect them.

Next to the remains a pair of boots very similar to those Anne-Cecile was wearing when she wandered off were found, were a pair of hearing aids (and Anne-Cecile was known to be wearing them). A bracelet that allowed for the entrance to the festival was also found. DNA analysis is being performed, it has been given high priority and the results are expected soon. Anne-Cecile’s parents expect those results to show that the remains do in fact belong to their daughter, which will bring them some closure, but some questions still remain.

First and foremost, of course, is the question of how the girl died. Some Croatian media have been reporting that the remains found have a large fracture in the skull, which might be indicative of a fall, especially if the location of the fracture on the base of the skull is considered (fractures below the so-called “hat brin line” are almost always the result of a fall, and not of an injury inflicted by another person). Croatian forensic experts will surely look into those injuries closely, and with their huge experience with traumatic deaths, accumulated partially during the war, will certainly be able to tell the family as much as possible about the circumstances that led to the tragic death of a young person.

The other question that would probably need addressing, is how it’s possible that a group of hunters found the human remains 3.5 years after the person officially went missing, and not the police, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) with their canine help, and the helicopter search that was organised at the time.

Some media reported that the area where the remains were found was still potentially laden with land-mines and marked as such on the official documents by the Croatian Mine Action Centre (HCR), so why were the hunters in the potentially mine-active region? Or, if it has been recently deemed safe, why wasn’t it looked into by any officials? Most of the objects around the area where the body was found are ruins destroyed during the Homeland War, so a question that will probably never be answered is what Anne-Cecile was actually doing in one of those ruins, was she alone and if not, who was with her.

A sad ending of a long period of anguish for the family.


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