Julie Michel of Auxerre (France) reported missing on July 19th 2013
at Port de Lers - sector : Le Port, Massat, Vicdessos, Aulus
Julie Michel, young
lady from Burgundy, 28 years old, vanished at Port de Lers, col in
French Pyrenees (Ariège). This pass at an altitude of 1517m, is a
well known col of the Tour de France which links the valleys of Massat
(see more photos of Julie on the French page)
Hypothesis and unanswered questions
After staying a
week at Lacanau, (a sea resort on the west coast near Bordeaux),
with some friends in a camping site, Julie intended to spend some
weeks in Spain.
At night, during
the summer holydays, campers and holyday makers sometimes sleep at
the col. This enables the hikers to start their walks early and
avoid the afternoon heat. Furthermore, camper cars are permitted to
park in these mountains and are often found at the col near to Etang
de Lers. Port de Lers is the starting point for numerous walks
including : Pic des Trois
Seigneurs, Pic du Girantès (also called Girantos or Mont-Ceint),
Etang d'Arbu and Plateau du Bispou.
Julie's car was an old green station-wagon-type car, (Renault 21 Nevada), the rear seats had been folded and a mattress arranged up on the rear platform, to form a bed for sleeping. But it wasn't a van and there were no curtains hiding the inside, so passers-by would have been able to see inside the car and may have seen Julie sleeping during the morning of July 19th 2013.
One paraglider reported seeing Julie at 1 o'clock on July 19th, taking her lunch beside her car. This was the last sighting of Julie, and she has not been seen since. We are sure Julie was alone and nobody else had accompanied her or her car to Port de Lers.
There are many
unanswered questions concerning her disappearance and many possible
theories as to what may have happened to Julie.
1) Why did
Julie make a
detour to Massat and Port de Lers instead of following the
normal road to Spain : Toulouse / Auterive / Pamiers / Foix /
Tarascon-sur-Ariège / Ax-les-Thermes / Portet-Puymorens /
La-Tour-de-Carol / Bourg-Madame / Puigcerda ?
2) Did Julie
arrange her disappearance ?
3) Did Julie
commit suicide ?
4) A mountain
The forest of Freychinède, between Vicdessos and Port de Lers, has a thick canopy of beech trees which hides a number of steep cliffs. If she walked in the forest she may have been surprised by the afternoon storm and got lost. In the middle of Freychinède forest, on the North flank of the valley, there are gaps in the trees allowing you to see the houses which comprise hamlets on the South flank of the valley.
When looking at the houses on the other side of the valley, they seem to be very near, and you can often hear dogs barking and people shouting after them... so, if you are lost, you may be tempted to cross directly toward these house, but just under you the valley is very deep, the slope is sharp and barred by very dangerous cliffs. At the end of the day all public lights are automatically switched on, some cars arrive and the inhabited houses are alive with noise and lights.
5) An accident
in the ferns ?
6) A wrong
The six different theories or ideas mentioned above are unsubstantiated potential explanations for Julie Michel disappearance. We hope that in reading this ideas someone may have his memory triggered and someone who saw something on the day in the vicinity of Port de Lers may be able to provide us with a new piece of information that may help us and the police to solve the mystery that surrounds July disappearance.
If you think you may have some information please contact : GENDARMERIE DE SAINT-GIRONS : +33 (0)5 34 14 33 30
FURTHERMORE ALL WALKERS OR HIKERS ARE INVITED TO BE WATCHFUL IN THIS AREA OF PORT DE LERS AND TO REPORT IMMEDIATELY IF THEY FIND ANY CLUE AND TO BE VERY CAREFUL TO KEEP A PRECISE LOCATION OF WHAT THEY HAVE FOUND
A difficult area for the searchers