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'One night mum and dad left to milk the cows.. they never came home': Daughter of couple found frozen in a Swiss glacier 75 YEARS after they vanished reveals torment over their mysterious disappearance

22:05, Thursday, 20 July, 2017
'One night mum and dad left to milk the cows.. they never came home': Daughter of couple found frozen in a Swiss glacier 75 YEARS after they vanished reveals torment over their mysterious disappearance

The daughter of a couple whose remains were found perfectly preserved in a receding glacier 75 years after they vanished has revealed how the mystery left her orphaned and separated from her six siblings.

Monique Gautschy-Dumoulin was 11 when she waved goodbye to her parents for the last time on August 15, 1942.
     Marcelin Dumoulin, a 40-year-old shoemaker, and his wife Francine, 37, left their village in Chandolin, Switzerland to milk their cows in a meadow. They never returned.
     Now 86, their eldest daughter Monique told how the mystery had cast a shadow over her life.
     Speaking from her home in Swizerland, she said: 'They had gone to the fields to tend to the cows.
     'They told me they would return later in the evening or possibly the following day if they were too tired. It was a Saturday. My father hugged me.'

The following morning, Monique, who was becoming increasingly concerned, left the house to ask neighbours if they had seen them.
     'I went to a friend's on the edge of the village to see if she had seen them returning.
     'When she said she hadn't, I started crying. I knew it was bad.
     'A search was launched by the priest, a friend of my father. The whole village helped. But there was no sign, no clues.'
     Monique said she and her siblings – Maurice, Raphael, Candide, Eugene, Charles and Marceline - remained in the family home 'for two to three weeks' after their parents disappeared.
     'I was the oldest so I was doing everything. The cooking, the washing – and remember, this was before washing machines. Everything by hand. I had to look after my sister and brothers. It was hard.
     'Then the house was shut up. We weren't allowed to take anything. We left with no souvenirs, nothing. The priest organised for us all to live with different families.
     'There were a lot of people who came forward offering help because my father was such a popular man so everyone wanted one of Marcelin's children.
     'But once we were placed it was a very different story.
     'It wasn't always easy. Our family was separated left and right, it was a disaster to have no parents.

'We were not necessarily treated how we should have been. We were sent to work in gardens, fields, vineyards. We were never together.
     'Even if we were in the same village, we lost sight of each other because we worked a lot of time.
     'Sometimes there were festivals but you had to pay for those. So we each rested in our own corner of life and grew-up separately.
     'Life changed terribly and hugely after they disappeared.'
     For nearly eight decades their sudden disappearance remained a mystery.
     And, then, last Thursday an extraordinary discovery was made.
     Their perfectly preserved bodies were found next to each other in the Diablerets massif on the Tsanfleuron glacier in southern Switzerland, along with their identitiy cards, backpacks, a bottle, a book and a watch they had with them.
     Officials say the couple, whose bodies were formally identified this week using DNA samples, had likely fallen into a crevasse.
     Swiss police said Wednesday: 'The remains recovered on the glacier have been formally identified,' police in Switzerland's Valais canton said in a statement.
     'They are of Mr. Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife Francine Dumoulin, who disappeared tragically on August 15, 1942.'
     Monique said police called to inform her of the definitive identification early on Wednesday.
     Relatives have said that the discovery would finally give them a chance for closure and to organise the funeral that the Dumoulins never received.
     Their funeral will take place on Saturday, Monique said, adding that she 'would love to see them before then, just to embrace them.'

The head of the resort, Bernard Tschannen, said that the bodies were found last Thursday. They were discovered by the Tsanfleuron glacier at an altitude of 2,615m.
     'It was a man and a woman wearing clothes from the last (world) war', Tschannen told the Le Matin daily. 'The ice preserved them perfectly and their belongings were intact'.
     Monique's younger sister Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, who was four when their parents disappeared said: 'We spent our whole lives searching for them, without stopping. We never thought we'd be able to give them the funeral they deserved.
     'I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.'
     She added: 'For the funeral, I won't wear black. I think that white would be more appropriate. It represents hope, which I never lost.'

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