One year, yes, one year already, Marion, since you arrived on the island of Dominica on February 4, 2023, in Portsmouth aboard a small sailboat. Shortly before, you had crossed the ocean for a month as part of a catamaran crew, visiting some Caribbean islands. Dominica captured your heart, a revelation!
A year since you found your island, so powerful, so alluring, so mysterious. A year since you were ready to follow its steep, gnarled, muddy trails, to embark on your solitary quest in this lush nature, among vines, giant grasses, monumental trees, stones, and countless waterfalls of pure and rejuvenating water… charmed by the beauty of this unusual island and its inhabitants, so vibrant, so touching, so welcoming… A year since you set out with determination on this initiatory pilgrimage, toward your profound and powerful nature. A year since you departed… disappeared… perhaps by the force of the untamed natural elements, – a return to the great whole? – A mystery whose veils you alone have lifted. Leaving behind no visible and tangible trace, only the trace of our memories, the full radiance of your life, these intense 26 years. Leaving behind a trail of tears and love.
You began the Waitukubuli Trail journey on February 5, planning to complete it over two weeks. Concerns arose at the end of February, prompting search efforts that started in early March. Friends, family, firefighters, volunteers, and the Dominican police dedicated four months to thorough investigation and active searches following your disappearance.
The reliable testimonies that have been gathered and verified allow us to trace the first three days of your journey on the island.
So, arriving in Portsmouth on February 4, you finished your preparations and initially set out on segment 14 in the north of the island on February 5, accompanied by a Canadian for a stretch.
On the morning of February 6, you were spotted in Roseau, hitchhiking with a taxi driver and a European tourist (Swedish, perhaps?) whom you had just met. The testimony of a woman present in the taxi aligns perfectly with the driver’s account. You were dropped off in front of Homeboy Auto Repair garage at the intersection of Louisville and Valley Road. The mechanic at this garage attests to seeing both of you disembark from the taxi and then get into a white pickup truck headed towards Laudat.
In Laudat, it appears that you may have stopped at the Mon Plezi restaurant before heading towards the entrance of the Waitukubuli Trail.
Regardless, from February 6 onwards, we lose track of your trail.
Based on these three verified testimonies, it is certain that you were in the Laudat area on the morning of February 6. It is then probable that you proceeded alone towards segment 4 of the Waitukubuli Trail, which leads to Middleham Falls. This is supported by a belated testimony from one of the workers at the nearby construction site.
From February 8 onwards, heavy and continuous rains fall on the island, unusually intense for the season, posing a risk of flash floods, slips, falls, mudslides, and exhaustion.
Search and Investigations:
Field searches began in early March – even before the official notice of a missing person – and lasted for four months. Mostly led by friends, family, firefighters, guides and volunteers, who tirelessly navigated the rugged and lush terrain along the trail, riverbeds, and ravines for several weeks, extending into months. Two expeditions by the French gendarmerie took place later, in mid-April and mid-May, following numerous diplomatic and administrative efforts.
The investigations, witness appeals and reward offerings were primarily overtaken by the family and friends. In addition to the ordeal they were going through, they continually faced challenges in cooperating with the police, difficulties in organizing searches by the French gendarmerie and military, the impossibility for French investigators to conduct inquiries on Dominican territory, and the lack of resources and commitment from Dominican investigators.
It is regrettable to note that everything stopped upon our departure on July 3, after four months of exhaustive efforts. Following our departure, the unanswered messages from the police leave us with the feeling that they have closed the case.
Yet, specific unresolved points remain, which could still shed light on your disappearance: with whom were you hitchhiking on February 6 between Roseau and Laudat? Who was the unidentified European tourist (possibly Swedish)? What about the white pickup truck and its owner? Why have they not testified?
Despite the feeling that everything rested on our fragile shoulders, we are deeply moved and grateful for the substantial support we received from firefighters, guides, and volunteers, as well as the spirit of compassion and solidarity shown by the people of Dominica.
One year later…
Let’s simply not forget…
Something may resurface, or not…
One year later, let’s simply not forget: Marion is there, somewhere, and everywhere at once, on this radiant and lush island she had chosen, mirroring so much of herself. The most beautiful island of her life, at the most beautiful moment of her life.