Mystery surrounds death of young woman on Alicante mountain peak
Naked body of 22-year-old showed no signs of violence, investigators say.
3 January 2008
ALICANTE - Since Monday afternoon when the body of a 22-year-old girl was found naked on a mountain peak close to the town, residents of Agost in Alicante have been struggling to come to terms with a death that has created more questions than there are answers.
The corpse of María Dolores Yeste, a well-liked, sociable young woman who was studying to be a social worker at Alicante University, was found by a climber scaling a 1,000-metre high mountain in the nearby Maigmó range. She was lying naked on a rocky outcrop with no visible injuries except for a few scratches on her legs. The climber said it looked as if she was sleeping.
It was not immediately clear how long she had been that way nor the cause of death, although hypothermia caused by exposure at an altitude where nighttime temperatures regularly fall below zero Celsius was believed to have killed her.
Yeste was last seen on the night of December 25 when she appeared at her boyfriend's home in Alicante wearing only her pyjamas. She told him that she could not trust anyone and could not go back home. He told investigators that she then drove off in her car. Police are trying to piece together what happened next, although so far there is no evidence to suggest foul play. Though investigators acknowledged yesterday that they have not ruled out any possibility, the principal suspicion is that she drove herself to the mountain where her car was found days later. From there, she began to climb, slowly shedding items of clothing and her car keys, which were found by search parties who scoured the area last weekend. She then may simply have laid herself out on a rock to die.
Police, friends and relatives are at a loss to explain what drove her to go to the mountain. A search of her bedroom at her parents' home turned up a copy of the Bible with passages related to "salvation is on the mountain" underlined. She also had numerous self-help books.
Neighbours, friends and relatives noted, however, that Yeste did not appear to be depressed or in need of help.
"She seemed totally normal," Joaquín Castelló, the mayor of Agost, said. "She wasn't introverted, nor did she suffer from depression, instead she was happy and cheerful."
Her death has shocked the 4,800 inhabitants of the town. "Nothing like this has ever happened around here," commented one neighbour.
Yeste's body was laid to rest Wednesday in the town cemetery following the completion of a post-mortem examination in Alicante.
[Copyright El Pais / R. BIOT / R. LLORENTE 2008]
Subject: Spanish news