The body of a missing British tourist who vanished in Guatemala has been found.
Catherine Shaw, 23, disappeared in the early hours of last Tuesday – carrying just a grey and white puppy in her arms.
It is believed she went on a hike up a mountain overlooking the Lake Atitlan, a popular beauty spot near where she was staying.
Her body was found near a rocky perilous path which leads to the top of the mountain.
It is understood Miss Shaw was found in a cavern near the trail, some two miles from the hotel where she went missing.
The body of missing British tourist Catherine Shaw (pictured), 23, has been found in Guatemala, local police have confirmed
In footage shared with the Mail by the hotel’s owner, Miss Shaw can be seen in a long purple dress sitting in a communal café area
Footage shows Catherine, 23, shortly after checking into Eco-Hotel Mayachik in the village of San Juan la Laguna on Sunday
Investigators will now probe whether she fell or if there was any foul play involved in her death.
The scene is also very close to the spot where a small grey and white puppy, which Miss Shaw had been carrying around in the days before she vanished, was found on Friday.
Local mayor Antonio Chavajay said the body of Miss Shaw had been found.
He told The Mail: ‘I’d like the thank the community for coming together.
‘They found the body near the dog, the dog was the evidence of where she was.
‘It is not known how she died. She was found in a very rocky area.’
A statement said: ‘The Lucie Blackman Trust is saddened to announce that a body has been found in the search for Catherine Shaw.
The scene of the mountain overlooking the Lake Atitlan near where Catherine’s body was found
A search party spent hours searching for Catherine until her body was found today
Volunteers searched for Catherine who went missing 36 hours after she checked into a hotel in the village of San Juan la Laguna
‘Formal identification has not taken place but the body is believed to be Catherine.
‘Catherine’s family have been informed. Please respect their privacy at this difficult time.’
It also emerged that Miss Shaw had been fasting and had stopped washing in the days before she vanished.
The national civilian police said last night in a statement it would try to find out ‘who could be implicated in this awful turn of events’.
The wooded hiking spot where searchers believe Catherine may have gone to watch the sunrise involves climbing extremely rocky terrain for around an hour
The country’s Interior Ministry said volunteers has spent 120 hours searching for Catherine.
It has now designated a team to carry out a ‘criminal investigation’ to see ‘who could be involved in this deplorable incident’.
Catherine went missing 36 hours after checking into Eco-Hotel Mayachik in the village of San Juan la Laguna on Sunday.
The former yoga teacher, from Witney, Oxfordshire, had been travelling through California, Mexico and Guatemala since September last year.
In footage shared with the Mail by the hotel’s owner, Miss Shaw can be seen in her last known moments wearing a long purple dress sitting in a communal café area.
The CCTV clip also shows Miss Shaw placing a Tupperware box containing cookies on the hotel reception.
The footage comes as a distinctive woollen jacket belonging to Miss Shaw was found by search crews on Sunday.
Volunteers, split into two groups, found the piece of clothing discarded among weeds along a treacherous hiking trail leading to the top of a hill with views over the nearby Lake Atitlan.
In the days before her disappearance, Miss Shaw had been carrying around a small grey and white puppy.
In CCTV clips, she can be seen holding the tiny dog.
On Friday a hiker found the pup alone at the top of a mountain called Indian Nose, popular with tourists visiting the area.
Last night, a search party found a distinctive jacket belonging to Miss Shaw, who is originally from Witney in Oxfordshire
Her father Tarquin, pictured, is due to land in the Central American country later this evening to help with the search effort
It is believed Miss Shaw may have climbed the summit to watch the sun rise early on Tuesday morning.
The paths to the top of the hill are slippery and lead into densely wooded areas.
Amy Farrow, a former American paramedic who is helping with the rescue effort, said of the discovery of the dog: ‘Seeing her with the puppy in the video I don’t think she would have left the puppy.’
‘Her intention was to go and watch the sun rise,’ she added.
Miss Farrow, 37, who has viewed the CCTV of Miss Shaw, said: ‘She leaves at 5.23am with the puppy on Tuesday morning.
‘It’s very common for people to go and walk to see the sunrise there.
‘The puppy was found on Friday. The puppy was OK, a little undernourished and crying a lot.’
Miss Farrow said Miss Shaw was an ‘avid nature enthusiast’.
‘She had hiked a volcano barefoot,’ she said, adding: ‘She has been known to go on nature walks before and come back totally fine.’
In the days before her disappearance, Miss Shaw was on a ‘spiritual quest’. She added: ‘She’s not acting erratic in the video and appeared sober.’
The clips seen by the Mail, taken across two days, show Miss Shaw at the hotel on Sunday.
Miss Shaw, a former yoga teacher, was last captured on CCTV at 5.23am on Tuesday morning leaving the budget hotel where she was staying
Catherine’s friend Paco Rosales, who shared this post on Facebook, said he immediately recognised the coat – and burst into tears when he was shown a picture of the item
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, she can be seen setting off in the middle of the night, at around 1.30am, with a large musical instrument, known as a Hang on her back.
Although it was initially thought that Miss Shaw may have vanished with the instrument, a later clip shows her sleeping in a hammock outside her dorm room at around 3.30am. She appears to be wrapped in a scarf.
Some two hours later, at around 5.30am, Miss Shaw was seen carrying a puppy and leaving the hotel complex.
Today, a helicopter scrambled to search a heavily wooded area lined with hiking trails. Police and local firemen are also helping with the rescue effort.
Volunteers went back over the spots where the coat and puppy were found.
Miss Shaw’s father, Tarquin, was due to arrive in the area last night.
Speaking at the weekend, Miss Shaw’s parents said they were ‘desperately worried’ and described her disappearance as ‘unusual behaviour’.
Eduardo Smith, an official from the British embassy in Guatemala, said a representative was due to travel to the area today.
Mr Smith said: ‘Staff from the embassy are currently helping the family after we received the report of this missing woman.
‘We are in contact with the authorities and we are providing assistance.’
An official was due to arrive this afternoon with Miss Shaw’s father Tarquin.
The woollen pink and cream jacket was found among leaves near a line of avocado trees on the hiking trail near a hill known as ‘Indian Nose’.
In an interview with the Mail, Paco Rosales, who travelled to Guatemala from Mexico to help find his friend said he immediately recognised the coat – and burst into tears when he was shown a picture of the item.
Mr Rosales, travelled to the area after receiving a panicked text from Miss Shaw’s mother on Friday. ‘I got instantly worried about it,’ he added.
Mr Rosales, 35, said of the jacket’s significance: ‘I asked her to throw it away. She said she was too emotionally attached to it. She wore it through California and Mexico.
‘I told her: “You need to get another jacket”, and she was like: “No, I really love it”.’
‘It was one of her favourite items of clothing. It was really warm, that’s why she always kept it. She didn’t care about the way she looked,’ he added.
He last saw his friend around six weeks ago in Mexico. ‘I think she was probably in an emotional time, where you question yourself, you question life – we all have those times,’ he said.
It was ‘so normal’ for Miss Shaw to set off at 5.30am to watch the sun rise, he noted, adding that the pair had regularly done this in the past in India.
Friends of Miss Shaw have set up a donation page on Facebook to help fund search and rescue efforts on the ground – including chartering a helicopter to search miles of heavy woodland.
Their efforts were initially hampered by Facebook who said it would take seven days to release the funds, a time frame Mr Rosales described as ‘ridiculous’.
But last night the social media giant said it was working to ‘expedite payment of these funds as quickly as possible’.
The Mail joined a search team of volunteers on Sunday with two drones scouring the area as well as some 15 locals and expats on foot. Around five police officers also joined in the effort.
The wooded hiking spot where searchers believe Catherine may have gone to watch the sunrise involves climbing extremely rocky terrain for around an hour. Searchers believe Miss Shaw may have taken on the feat bare foot.
The mountain can be climbed from two different angles – the jumper was found in one spot while the little puppy Miss Shaw had been carrying hours before was found in another.
An avid traveller, she has been backpacking since September through California, Mexico and now Guatemala.
Mr Rosales said she had felt ‘so blessed’ to explore the local area, adding: ‘She is very spiritual, she was feeling in that wave of so in tune with the universe, a lot of positive things were happening to her.’
She had spent much of her time with an Italian woman, Elena Consolini, who reported her as missing.