OFFICERS investigating the death of a backpacker in Guatemala are yet to rule out 'foul play'.

UPDATE: Appeal to bring body home launched

An investigation has been launched after the body of 23-year-old Catherine Shaw, from Witney, was discovered yesterday after being missing for almost one week.

Ms Shaw had been travelling since September last year and had been staying in the Lake Atitlan area of the central American country.

READ AGAIN: Catherine Shaw - body found in search for missing backpacker

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which had been supporting the search, confirmed yesterday evening that Ms Shaw's body had been found and thanked everyone who helped with the search.

In a post to the Finding Catherine Shaw Facebook page a woman involved in the search detailed the extensive search for the missing 23-year-old and the recovery of her body.

It said that it was 'too early to tell what happened' and slammed the local 'media frenzy' surrounding Ms Shaw's death.

ALSO READ: Family tribute thanks 'international effort' to find backpacker Catherine Shaw

Adding: "Speculation does nothing. Once the autopsy is conducted, we can determine if it was a fall or foul play.

"Given how concerned the locals and towns are it was very apparent this incident is pretty rare in beautiful Lagoatitlan.

"Sending lots of love and light to everything involved. This page and volunteer group was started and lead by a group of incredibly strong women who didn't know Catherine personally but felt compelled to find her."

Officials are now investigating whether there was any third party involvement in Ms Shaw's death.

Oxford Mail:

The road leading to Eco-Hotel Mayachik', where Ms Shaw was last seen. Pic: Google Maps

READ AGAIN: Drones and dive teams search for Witney woman missing in Guatemala

The Lucie Blackman Trust has also spoken out on the issue and said the family's grief has been 'compounded by intense speculation' that assumptions of murder and rape.

A statement from the charity also said that photographs of Ms Shaw's body had been circulating online and asked if anyone sees this to report it immediately.

The charity's chief executive Matthew Searle said: "Whilst we do not know the full facts yet this kind of speculation is incredibly unhelpful, distressing and unnecessary.

"The family deserve respect and time to come to terms with their tragic loss – not to have Catherine’s last hours dissected in such a graphic manner all over social media.

"Whilst there will always be discussion and comment, the conclusions being reached in this case are based on scant evidence and quite possibly ill informed. We ask that all such speculation ceases and that people wait for official enquiries to conclude."

Oxford Mail:

San Pedro marked on map of Guatemala, next to Lake Atitlán. Pic: Google Maps

The charity believes that foul play was 'probably not involved and that Ms Shaw's death was likely to be a tragic accident.

It added: "We know that Catherine had been fasting for the days leading to her disappearance and that she had been disposing of possessions, including clothing.

"She was very much a nature lover and adored sunrises, so it seems quite conceivable that she went up the mountain to greet the sunrise, shedding clothing as she went, and due to her lack of intake of food and fluid may have passed out or fallen, causing the wounds to her body.

"Whilst of course at this stage we do not know the full facts, and cannot rule anything out until we do, it is wrong to assume and of course confirm that she was raped and murdered by a mystery assailant when such facts are not evident.

"Facebook posts analysing photographs of poor Catherine’s body are totally unacceptable."