Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Missing Pilgrim - Denise Thiem

If you haven't heard by now, there is a female pilgrim missing.

Her name is Denise. Her brother posted this notice on the forum:

My sisters name is Denise Thiem, she's a Chinese American woman. Also known as Arizona

The reasons I'm worried is because I haven't communicated with her since the 4/1. I checked her email accounts and 4/4 was time she done anything and 4/6 when she last had any bank account activities.

I've been talking to someone that last saw her in Manila de las Mulas (just before Leon) on 3/31
Last email sent (4/4) She was in Astorga and heading for El Ganso the next day.
She asked around and no one has seen her since Astorga.

Since that post, photos of Denise have been discovered on a blog by an Australian woman but the photos are BEFORE Astorga. The story has been picked up by both Spanish and American press. Here are the latest photos of Denise.

Denise is in the hat with turquoise pack

Denise in back with hat on left

Denise in center with turquoise pack

This is from one of the local spanish news websites ( translated into English )...

The Civil Guard is investigating the disappearance of a pilgrim US citizen, Denise Thiem, 41, from which her whereabouts are unknown since last April 5, while conducting the Camino de Santiago in the province of León.

The family of the pilgrim been reported missing to the police and Civil Guard after they have not heard from her since last April 1, when she sent an email to reported sources of Armed Institute.

A brother of Denise Thiem has moved to Leon after the pilgrim trail on the night of 4th to April 5 was lost, when it found that she spent the night in a hostel in the village of Hospital Órbigo, before undertaking the road to Astorga.

Denise Thiem brunette with long hair, black eyes, 1.62 meters tall, has Asian features, according to the family, which has provided an email address,, to to gather clues that may lead to her whereabouts.

And from Tina Asher:

Denise Pikka Thiem is Chinese American . 41 years old and around 162cm and 54 kg weight. She has long black curly hair and black eyes. We lost contact with her since 4th Apr and her last email sent to her friend Lynley a British lady , mentioned that she planned to go to Mass at 11am in Astorga on 5th April and head to El Ganso. But she never reached El Ganso. And all her back account, email account, ATM and Visa card transaction stopped all activities after 4th Apr 2015.
Have you ever seen her on the trails or any hotels? Or Do you know anyone was in Astorga around 1st to 5th Aprl for their Semana Santa Holy week celebration? Or you can recognize anyone in her photos on the trails ? Or any name you can think so?
If you travel in March and April 2015, can you check all your pictures to see you can locate Denise in your pictures?
If you have any idea and clue that can help us to find Denise,

please contact us at

Every single small detail will help us and please contact us if you have any information.
Thank you so much for your kind attention! Together we will find Denise and bring her home safely!!!

* * * 

If you have friends on the Camino, or if you or friends were ON the Camino during these dates, can you please pass this information along.

If Denise is safe and has simply dropped out on her own, could you please ask her to contact her family.

Lastly, if you are planning to walk or know someone currently on the Camino, please advise them NOT to take the shortcut/alternative route from Murias de Rechivaldo through Castillo de Polvazares!  There have been two instances of solitary pilgrims being tazed. One man was robbed and a German woman managed to get away. Stick to the main route and walk this section in a group. This is Stage 23 in Brierley's book from Astorga to Rabanal del Camino.

Thank you,



  1. Thank you, Annie, for posting this! We're all hoping for some good news soon.
    Take care,

  2. Thank you! I will let our group here aware of keeping to main route. We are all very concerned here in Arizona

  3. I hope you find her healthy and well very soon


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