DNA tests have established that the remains found on a receding Alpine glacier last week were of a couple missing for nearly 75 years, Swiss police said Wednesday.
“The remains recovered on the glacier have been formally identified,” police in Valais canton (state) said in a statement.
“They are of Mr. Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife Francine Dumoulin, who disappeared tragically on August 15, 1942.”
The couple had left their home in the village of Chandolin that morning hoping to check in on their cattle, which were being kept in an alpine pasture in neighboring Bern canton.
The fastest route at the time was via a glacier footpath. The sky was clear when the couple set out, but clouds later worsened visibility and the couple vanished, likely after falling into a crevasse, orphaning five sons and two daughters.
They were discovered last Thursday — preserved in the Tsanfleuron glacier at an altitude of 2,600 meters — by an employee of a local ski resort.
Backpacks, a watch and other personal belongings had been preserved in the ice nearby.
One of their surviving children, Monique Gautschy, told AFP that police called to inform her of the definitive identification early on Wednesday.
That funeral will happen Saturday, Gautschy said, adding that she “would love to see them before then, just to embrace them.”
Her sister Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, who was four the day her parents went missing, told Le Matin that she climbed the glacier three times after their disappearance, “constantly wondering what had happened to them.”
The search was called off after several weeks and the Dumoulin children — aged two to 13 at the time — were sent to live with relatives and in foster homes.
“We spent our whole lives searching for them, without stopping. We never thought we’d be able to give them the funeral they deserved,” Udry-Dumoulin told Le Matin.