The family of missing 21-year-old Erasmus programme student Sandra Marques got the worst possible news after spending four disheartening days searching for her themselves in the Spanish town of Ourense.
The Marques family had only just returned to their Castelo Branco home, exhausted and dispirited, when Spanish police called to inform them they had found a body in Ourense’s thermal springs.
The body was discovered in exactly the same area where the young Portuguese was last seen on the evening of Monday February 16.
What Spanish police will conclude remains a mystery. Certainly, their searches had been focusing along the banks of the Minho River, and according to Portuguese newspapers, they were working on the basis of suicide.
Sandra’s mother has reported that her daughter was “a bit depressed” and “wanted to leave her work experience” position which had been organised via the Erasmus student-exchange within a Spanish foundation.
According to Lusa news agency, Sandra had been sharing a house with three Spanish students and was due to return home to the village of Ninho do Açor, Castelo Branco at the end of March when her work experience came to an end.
Sandra’s cousin Ema Miguel told the news service that Castelo Branco Polytechnic has sent a psychologist to Ourense to accompany the parents and their son as they return to face the desperately unhappy task of identifying their daughter’s body.