A Swiss couple who disappeared from their farm in the Alps during World War II have finally been found, 75 years later, mummified in a glacier.
Marceline and Francine Dumoulin went missing on August 15, 1942, after leaving to milk their cows in a meadow near their home. They never returned to their family, including their six children.
A worker found the frozen bodies of a man and a woman last week during routine maintenance. The corpses were preserved in the now receding Tsanfleuron glacier, near a slew of trendy ski resorts at 2,600 meters (8,500 feet) above sea level.
“From afar, it looked like small rocks, but there were too many in the same place,” noted nearby Glacier 3000 resort director Bernhard Tschannen in an interview with Radio Television Swisse.
When he got closer, he noticed a collection of frozen accessories — backpacks, watches, mess kits, a glass bottle and boots — all of which dated back several decades.
Decked in World War II-era clothing, the duo was frozen close together. Their bodies have since been air lifted from the Alps.
The couple’s youngest daughter, 79-year-old Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, told Swiss paper “Le Matin” their children had never stopped looking for them.
“We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day,” she said.
Another daughter, Monique Gautschy-Dumoulin, told Radio Television Swisse (RTS) her parents were walking to the valley the morning of their disappearance. It was a nice day, she says. Her father was singing.
But that was the last Monique would see of her parents, whose disappearance left her to care for her young sisters and brothers.
Their mother, a schoolteacher, and father, a shoemaker, likely fell into a crevice of the glacier, where their bodies were preserved.
The Institute of Forensic Medicine will seek to formally identify the bodies, through DNA tests, but the couple’s children are convinced they are their missing parents.
“I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm,” Udry-Dumoulin shared. “Now, I know where my parents are.”