Burnt remains found in French Polynesia

Stefan Ramin, a 40-year-old liveaboard from Hamburg who went missing a week ago, may have been murdered on the remote island of Nuku Hiva.

Mr Ramin and his partner Heike Dorsh had only just reached the Marquesas Islands from Central America, three years after starting a round-the-world trip on their 14m Easton catamaran, Baju.

Ms Dorsh told officials that on arrival Mr Ramin engaged a local guide, Henri Haiti, and the two men set off to hunt inland. The guide returned alone, claiming her partner was injured and needed assistance, but when Ms Dorsh began to follow Mr Henri back he tied her to a tree and assaulted her before fleeing. She freed herself some hours later and raised the alarm, but according to regional media Mr Henri has not been seen since.

A 20-strong police and military search party subsequently found evidence of clothing at a site two hours by foot from the coast, near the ashes of a fire in which human bones and melted metal, possibly fillings, were apparent. With a history of cannibalism in the region, speculation over what the state of the remains suggests is rife, although the practice was believed to have ceased decades ago. The remains are being referred to Paris for DNA testing before identification can be certain, but this could take weeks.

Image: from Stefan Ramin’s Facebook page