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Mystery Solved: A Swiss couple reported missing 75 years ago, parents of 7 children, found in a melting glacier in the Alps

Stefan Andrews

A common headline you may see is a couple goes missing while traveling, hiking, mountain climbing, boating, or some other pursuit. The best outcome is that they are quickly found, safe and unharmed. Sometimes, tragically, the police discover their corpses a bit later. Or they are simply never found.

What you don’t see is a missing couple being discovered 75 years later, their bodies frozen. That is the case with Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, a Swiss couple that was last seen in the Alps in 1942. They left behind seven children.

A famous case of a couple being discovered together is Ida and Isidor Straus of the Titanic, who were noted for their deep love for each other. “Where you go, I go” was what Ida Straus told her husband as she was about to get on one of the Titanic‘s lifeboats, as she changed her mind and decided to remain with her husband to the end. According to eyewitnesses, Ida and Isidor were last seen on the ship’s deck holding each other, and they both died when the ship sank.

 

We actually know more about the last minutes of the Titanic couple than what happened to Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, the Swiss couple that disappeared in 1942. It was a shrinking glacier that revealed their two frozen bodies in July 2017.

The remains, being perfectly mummified, are believed to belong to Marcelin and Francine.  The news was reported by Swiss media outlets, and it has immediately caught international attention.

At the point of their disappearance, the spouses had seven children. They went to see to their cattle one day and never returned.  Their traumatized children were distributed among a few different families.

The couple’s youngest daughter, Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, told the Laussane-based Le Matin that she and her other siblings spent their entire lives looking for their parents, and the news of their find has given her a “deep sense of calm.”

Tsanfleuron Glacier, the view toward west, the same glacier that gave up the bodies of the Swiss couple. Photo by Zacharie Grossen, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tsanfleuron Glacier, the view toward west, the same glacier that gave up the bodies of the Swiss couple. Photo by Zacharie Grossen, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

The remains of the Swiss couple were found in a melting glacier in the Deblerts Mountains, in the south of the country. Perfectly preserved during the decades spent in the ice, the bodies were found close to each other, alongside backpacks, a book, a watch, and a glass bottle. A DNA test has yet to be conducted in order to confirm the bodies are 100 percent those of Marcelin and Francine.

 

As local police have said, the bodies were discovered earlier in July 2017, on the Tsanflureon glacier, peering above the Lest Diablerets resort. The employees of the Glacier 3,000 ski-lift company, which manages the site, found the remains.

Photo showing the Bernese Alps in Switzerland: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau

Photo showing the Bernese Alps in Switzerland: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau

 

According to the company’s director, Bernhard Tschannen, his employees had first seen the backpacks, tin bowls, and the bottle, as well as pairs of male and female shoes. Subsequently, they spotted part of a body under the ice, and it was their clothing that gave the first hint that they could have died roughly 70 or 80 years.

Tschannen believes that the couple fell into a crevice, which trapped them and led to their deaths, although it’s not known how quickly.

Ms. Udry-Dumolin said that her mother was a teacher and her father a shoemaker. Her mother would rarely accompany her husband on his mountain walks, because most of her time was spent caring for their many children. The couple left the home to see to their cattle, and it’s assumed that after they milked the cows, they decided to go walking.

Ms. Udry-Dumolin also told Le Matin that she now wished to arrange a proper funeral service for her parents. However, she would skip dressing them in black because “I think that white would be more appropriate. It represents hope, which I never lost.”

Related story from us: Black Sea mystery solved with discovery of missing ship

The Tsanfleruon Glacier measured an area of 1.47 square miles in 1973. According to data from 2005, the glacier was about 2.2 miles long. Most of the glacier today is used as a ski area and is commonly known as Glacier 3000 or Glacier des Diablerets.