La Dama del Camello

La Dama del Camello is the name given to an unidentified woman who washed up on the Playa del Camello beach in Santander, Spain at 2:00am on the 29th of June 2001.

It was quickly discovered that the woman had only been dead for 3 hours, and she was middle-aged. She had short black hair and she was wearing clothes, but her shoes were strewn about next to her. A purse and plastic bag were found nearby and these items are believed to have belonged to the deceased. The purse had no identification cards but it did have 1,200 pesetas. Inside of the plastic bag was a bottle of baby perfume and two kitchen cloths, all brand new as if they had just been brought.

Further investigation revealed that the plastic bag was from El Corte Inglés, one of Spain’s largest retail stores. The plastic bag also had the receipt from the purchase of the baby perfume and kitchen cloths, though sadly this did not help with identifying her as she paid in cash. The store that she had purchased the items from was just 5 miles west of where her body was discovered.

Jane Doe’s cause of death was discovered to be drowning, likely in the Bay of Biscay, which Playa del Camello is right next to. Authorities did theorise that she may have jumped or fallen to her death from the cliffs at the end of the beach, but this theory was later disregarded as she lacked any injuries consistent with a jump or fall, and all of her clothes and items were fully intact.

In an effort to identify her, the police took a picture of her post-mortem and included it in newspapers in the hopes that someone would recognise her. Unfortunately, no one came forward. The investigative team collected and stored her DNA, fingerprints and dental records. They monitored missing people’s cases for the next week, but none matched Jane Doe.

Authorities went to dry cleaners to try and identify her due to a dry cleaning ticket being found in her coat, but this proved fruitless. They also looked at what cars had been towed in the local area, local CCTV cameras and bus drivers whose routes passed through El Corte Inglés. There was one lead found about a woman whose son had died by suicide on the beach, however, she was later found alive.

Investigators sent the woman’s DNA to other countries for comparisons with their missing people’s reports, but this again turned up no new leads. A DNA analyst said that she was most likely from Europe or North Africa, most notably the Maghreb region of Africa. Whilst it was a new bit of information, it ultimately lead nowhere.

In 2010, a team of investigators started looking into the records of women whose driver’s licenses had expired in the past decade since 2001. Sadly, this brought them no closer to finding the true identity of the woman. The authorities decided to lay Jane Doe to rest in a Santander cemetery.

In 2020, it was noted that the deceased bore a striking resemblance to the missing person Blanca Otero. However, the timelines of these two cases and Blanca was found alive, though seriously ill, just a few months later.

Over 20 years later, La Dama del Camello has still not been identified. She is described as being a white female between the ages of 40 and 45, with short black hair and a thin build and complexation. She stood at 5″5′.

At the time of her death, she was wearing a green shirt with a floral print, a short brown or black woollen cloth jacket, Terylene slacks in a beige colour, a “Citizen” brand wristwatch and shoes. A dry cleaning tag was attached to the jacket with staples which read: “6-54730 Manchas” (Manchas translates to stains in English). She was also carrying her purse, a plastic shopping bag from El Corte Inglés, which contained baby perfume, two kitchen cloths and a receipt from El Corte Inglés showing the purchases of the perfume and cloths from the previous evening. Her purse had no identification but did contain 1,200 pesetas in cash.

Do you recognise La Dama del Camello?

Reconstruction of La Dama del Camello. Credit: Unidentified Awareness Wiki

Tags:

Unidentified, Jane Doe, La Dama del Camello, Santander, Spain, Europe, 2001, Unidentified Person, Unsolved, Unsolved Case, Strange, Mystery, True Crime, Crime, Unsolved Mystery, 2000s, Unsolved Death, Possible Homicide, Real Crime

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