QUETZALTENANGO, Guatemala — An English tourist whose body was found near a Guatemala highland lake popular with travelers died of hemorrhaging resulting from a traumatic brain injury, according to an autopsy report completed Tuesday.
In a statement, the National Institute of Forensic Sciences of Guatemala also said 23-year-old Catherine Shaw had died four to six days earlier.
Earlier Tuesday, a doctor performing the examination said the body showed signs of trauma but no apparent gunshot or stab wounds.
“In the preliminary findings, there are no wounds from bullets or sharp weapons,” Miguel Angel Samayoa told The Associated Press. “There are blows to the body.”
Neither Samayoa nor the institute said what might have caused the trauma.
Shaw, from Witney, England, was last seen before dawn Thursday in the town of San Juan La Laguna, on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Police announced Monday that her body had been found unclothed and in a state of decomposition in the brush near a mountain overlook.
The Lucie Blackman Trust, which has been assisting Shaw’s family, issued a statement urging people not to speculate about her death and saying it may have been a “tragic accident” not involving foul play.
It added that Shaw had been fasting for days before her disappearance and “disposing of possessions, including clothing.”
“She was very much a nature lover and adored sunrises, so it seems quite conceivable that she went up the mountain to greet the sunrise, shedding clothing as she went, and due to her lack of intake of food and fluid may have passed out or fallen, causing the wounds to her body,” the statement added, cautioning that not all the facts are known and nothing can be ruled out.
“Catherine just loved mountains and sunrises,” the family was quoted as saying. “She died doing what she loved.”
The British Embassy confirmed that Tarquin Shaw, the woman’s father, identified the body Tuesday in Guatemala, and said it was working with local authorities and assisting the family.