Bodies of a couple that mysteriously disappeared in 1942 have been found in a shrinking Swiss glacier

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Glacier 3000

A pair of bodies discovered in a shrinking glacier in Switzerland are believed to be a couple who went missing 75 years ago, according to a report in Swiss newspaper Le Matin.

Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin disappeared in the area in August 1942 while tending to their cows.

Bernhard Tschannen, the director of ski-lift company Glacier 3000, said one of his employees stumbled upon pairs of male and female shoes, some backpacks, tin bowls, and part of a body on the Tsanfleuron glacier, according to the Guardian.

Local police said in a statement that there were two bodies lying near each other – “a man and a woman wearing clothing dating from the period of World War Two.”

DNA tests have not yet confirmed their identities, but police said the bodies had identity papers, and were perfectly preserved in the glacier.

Tschannen told the Geneva Tribune that the couple likely fell into a crevasse and stayed there for decades, until the glacier receded. (The New York Times reports the Tsanfleuron glacier is losing 1.6 feet per year due to climate change.) The bodies were found near a ski lift above the Les Diablerets resort in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland.

Zermatt Switzerland glacier

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A hiker walks along a path near what remains of the Findelgletscher glacier in Zermatt, Switzerland.
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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Marcelin Dumoulin, a shoemaker, and Francine, a teacher, left behind seven children. Their five sons have died, according to the Times, and their youngest daughter, Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, is now 79. She told Le Matin that the discovery brought her a “deep sense of calm.”

“We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping” she said. After the couple’s disappearance, search crews combed the glacier for two months, the Times reports. Udry-Dumoulin said she and her siblings were then placed with different families and eventually lost touch.

“I was lucky to stay with my aunt. We all lived in the region but became strangers,” she said.

Udry-Dumoulin said she plans to have a proper funeral for her parents, and wear white to represent the hope she never lost.

This post has been updated with additional details.