Catherine Shaw: British backpacker died from a ‘traumatic brain injury’ in Guatemala


A British backpacker whose body was found on Monday died of haemorrhaging from a traumatic brain injury, according to a post-mortem report.

Catherine Shaw went missing in Guatemala after taking a puppy for a walk in the early hours of 5 March.

A major search involving drones, a helicopter and a dive team was launched for the 23-year-old from Witney, near Oxford, before her body was discovered near a highland lake popular with tourists.

In a statement, the National Institute of Forensic Sciences of Guatemala also said Ms Shaw had died four to six days earlier.

A doctor examining her body on Tuesday said the body showed signs of trauma but no apparent gunshot or stab wounds.

Miguel Angel Samayoa said: “In the preliminary findings, there are no wounds from bullets or sharp weapons. There are blows to the body.”

Neither Dr Samayoa nor the institute said what might have caused the brain injury.

Ms Shaw was last seen before dawn on Thursday in the town of San Juan La Laguna, on the shores of Lake Atitlan.

The puppy she had taken for a walk was found alive “shivering and crying” on Friday morning at the highest lookout of Indian Nose, a volcano overlooking Lake Atitlan.

Her jacket was found on a mountain trail, reportedly about two miles from where Ms Shaw was last seen.

Ms Shaw’s body was found unclothed and in a state of decomposition in undergrowth at the top of El Naudiz in San Juan La Laguna.

On Tuesday, The Lucie Blackman Trust which has been supporting Ms Shaw’s family, urged people not to speculate about her death.

The charity said it believed “foul play was probably not involved and that Catherine’s death was a tragic accident”.

Paying tribute to their daughter, Ms Shaw’s parents Ann and Tarquin said Ms Shaw “just loved mountains and sunrises” and “she died doing what she loved”.

They also thanked her friends, search teams and volunteers for their efforts in trying to find Ms Shaw.

(c) Sky News 2019: Catherine Shaw: British backpacker died from a ‘traumatic brain injury’ in Guatemala

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