Pilgrims warned not to walk alone on Camino de Santiago

Image of Francisco Javier Garcia Lara. Credit: @fuengirola

PILGRIMS walking the Camino de Santiago have been warned to avoid walking alone on part of the route as police investigate an attempted abduction in the same area an American woman disappeared six weeks ago.
Denise Thiem was last seen in Astorga, Leon, on April 5. The 41-year-old from Arizona was doing the Camino Frances, one of the most popular routes pilgrims take to Santiago de Compostela.
More than a month and a half after she disappeared, police continue to investigate while family and friends recruit volunteers to search the area.
Alarm was sparked in the small municipality of Astorga when a local woman out jogging reported two men had tried to grab her and pull her into a car.
As police investigate both cases, one of the pilgrimage’s largest English-speaking forums has advised people to avoid walking between Astorga and Rabanal del Camino alone. “It seemed like it got to a point where there were so many things, and when you put them together it sounded like we should tell people about this,” said site administrator Ivar Rekve.
Meanwhile locals have said this isn’t the first time incidents have happened and complained of a lack of security in the area and several more pilgrims have reported inappropriate behaviour.
One woman from New York said a mountain biker had accosted her and repeatedly tried to touch her chest, and another from Germany said a white car kept passing her while she was walking alone near Astorga.
Local authorities have also decided to recommend pilgrims avoid travelling alone in remote areas just in case.
“It’s for precaution, we understand there isn’t any danger,” the local mayor said, likening the warning to those to watch over luggage at airports.
“The airport isn’t full of people who rob all the time, but there are a few people who will find a piece of luggage and take it,” she said, urging pilgrims to stay calm and stressing that the incidents where still being treated as isolated cases.

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