20 July 2017

Daughter of missing couple found perfectly preserved in Swiss glacier recalls hugging her dad the day they disappeared 75 years ago

THE daughter of a couple whose bodies were found frozen and perfectly preserved in a glacier 75 years later revealed “one night mum and dad left to milk the cows and never came home”.

The remains of Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin were found in the Swiss Alps last Thursday (July 13) huddled close together by the base of a ski lift used by thousands of tourists every day.

A glacier melted in the Swiss Alps, revealing the bodies of a couple
A glacier melted in the Swiss Alps, revealing the bodies of the couple
Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin went missing 75 years ago, with DNA tests now being conducted to confirm their bodies had been found
Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin went missing 75 years ago, with DNA tests confirm it was their bodies which had been found
Monique Gautschy-Dumoulin, whose parents Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, disappeared in the Alps on August 15, 1942

The couple, who had seven kids, were last seen on August 15 1942 in a meadow near the hamlet of Chandolin in the Valais canton of Switzerland as they waved goodbye before going off milking.

Their eldest daughter Monique, now aged 86, has spoken about the mysterious disappearance, revealing how her father hugged her and they promised to return later in the evening from “tending to the cows”.

She told Mail Online that she knew it was “bad” the following morning when they never returned as the “whole village” searched for her parents.

Marcelin, 40, a shoemaker, and Francine, 37, a teacher, left five sons and two daughters.

The priest who launched the search eventually arranged for local people to take their siblings – Maurice, Raphael, Candide, Eugene, Charles, Monique and Marceline – three weeks after the couple vanished.

Monique called it a “disaster to have no parents” as the children were sent to work in gardens, fields and vineyards.

She said: “Even if we were in the same village, we lost sight of each other because we worked a lot of time.

“We each rested in our own corner of life and grew-up separately.

“Life changed terribly and hugely after they disappeared.”

DNA test have confirmed her parents were the people frozen in the glacier with their identity cards, backpacks, a bottle, a book and a watch.

“The remains recovered on the glacier have been formally identified,” police in Switzerland’s Valais canton said in a statement today.

“They are of Mr. Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife Francine Dumoulin, who disappeared tragically on August 15, 1942.”

They were discovered preserved in the Tsanfleuron glacier at an altitude of 2,600 metres (8,500 feet) by an employee of a local ski resort.

Snow covered house roofs of the mountain village Vieux Chandolin, Switzerland
Snow covered house roofs of the mountain village Vieux Chandolin, Switzerland

Their youngest daughter Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, 79, told Lausanne’s Le Matin: “We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping.

“We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day.

“I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.”

Their daughter, who was orphaned at the age of four, revealed the fateful day her parents had disappeared had been the first time they ventured on the glacier together.

She said: “It was the first time my mother went with him on such an excursion.

“She was always pregnant and couldn’t climb in the difficult conditions of a glacier.”

Bernhard Tschannen, the director of Glacier 3000, said: “The bodies were lying near each other. It was a man and a woman wearing clothing dating from the period of World War Two.

“We think they may have fallen into a crevasse where they stayed for decades.

“As the glacier receded, it gave up their bodies.”

Daughter Marceline said several search parties had gone out looking for her parents over the years but no trace was ever found at a memorial service was held for them on the glacier in 1957.

The couple will be buried later this month in a joint service at their local church.

Marceline said she plans to wear white to “represent the hope, which she never lost”.

Climatologists say a rise in global temperatures is causing the ice to recede, revealing the corpses of those missing for decades.

Couple who vanished 75 years ago found perfectly preserved in a Swiss glacier

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