Missing Swedish pastor found dead

A 78-year-old retired female pastor who has been missing since mid-December was found dead in her car on an isolated country road in western Sweden on Thursday night.

Kerstin Segerberg’s snow-covered car was discovered by snowmobilers earlier in the afternoon near the Glaskogen nature reserve in Årjäng municipality in western Värmland County where she lived, county police told the TT news agency.

“She was found sitting in the car. And there’s no longer anything to indicate a crime was committed. It probably wasn’t an accident. Rather, it may be that she became stuck in the snow. But I’m not going to speculate,” Värmland police duty officer Sören Lövengärd told TT.

The snowmobilers found the vehicle nearly covered in snow on a small unplowed road near the shores of Mjögtvängen lake. When they brushed snow off the windscreen, they saw an arm resting on a knee and notified police, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

The nearest plowed road was six kilometres away, forcing police to use a tracked vehicle to reach the scene. Segerberg’s car will remain where it was found until Friday to allow police time to tow out the snow-covered Citreon C3.

The former pastor from Svensbyn in Årjäng municipality was still active in the parish. She disappeared on December 14th while she was out delivering Christmas gifts from the parish to different locations in the municipality.

Segerberg was reported missing on December 20th and in early January, police launched a preliminary murder investigation.

Her final deliveries were scheduled to take place near Stora Björ lake, near the Glaskogen nature reserve where he vehicle was found.

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Spain mourns Blanca Fernández Ochoa, the Olympian skier found dead in Madrid’s sierra

The body of former Spanish alpine skimedallist Blanca Fernández Ochoa was found Wednesday in a mountainous area near Madrid after days of searches for her by hundreds of police and volunteers, officials said.

Spain mourns Blanca Fernández Ochoa, the Olympian skier found dead in Madrid's sierra
Archive photo of Blanca Fernández Ochoa during her Olympic career.

The 56-year-old — won a bronze skiing for Spain in the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, becoming the country's first female Winter Olympic medallist — had been missing since she was last spotted on surveillance video at a shopping centre on August 24th.

Her car was later found at a parking lot near the start of a hiking trail in Cercedilla, a mountainous village near Madrid. The authorities said they are still investigating the cause of her death.

“Solidarity, support and human warmth have been felt these days in the mountains of Cercedilla. Security forces and many volunteers have taken part in the search for Blanca Fernández Ochoa. But nothing could be done. My affection to all her family,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted.

Hundreds of police, firefighters, forest rangers and volunteers, backed by helicopters, drones and tracking dogs, had taken part in the search for Fernández Ochoa.

Her family only alerted the authorities about her disappearance on August 29th because they said it was not unusual for her to go on hikes in the area, even without her phone, according to Spanish media reports.

Police on Saturday issued an appeal on social media for help from the public in locating Fernández Ochoa along with a picture of her, which drew media attention to her disappearance.

She was well known in Spain, where she had taken part in several TV reality shows after retiring from sports.

Her older brother, Francisco Fernández Ochoa, won a gold medal for skiing in the 1972 Winter Olympics in Japan. He is the first and only Spaniard to have won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.   

There is a statue in his honour in Cercedilla.   

Until 2018 the brother and sister were the only Spaniards to have won medals at a Winter Olympics.

“It is a very sad day for Spanish sports,” Spain's secretary of state for sports, Maria Jose Rienda, said in a statement.

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