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Anna and Ernestyna: Murder Or Abduction?

THE HIKING TRIP

Anna and Ernestyna, both 17 years old, come in Kocieliska, a Polish mountain village, on January 22, 1993, to spend a few days there hiking and appreciating nature. The girls leased a hotel at a location that Ernestyna was familiar with, having previously been there with her church group. Ernestyna and Anna were close friends who shared a passion for mountain climbing. Both were renowned for their kindness and friendliness, and Ernestyna was also deeply devout.

Three days were spent there hiking, shooting photographs, and enjoying their leisure time. Everything goes smoothly, and the girls are enthusiastic and upbeat. Anna wrote on the postcard to her parents, “I am fatigued, but God is my witness, I am living my dream.”

Pic: Fakt.Pl

THE MISSING PERSON

On January 27, the girls’ parents are informed that the previous day, the girls vacated the leased accommodation and did not return. They informed their host that they are going to the adjacent town of Zakopane to get return bus tickets for the following day’s trip back home.

Their stuff, including their documents, money, and camera, which they would not leave without, were left in the room where they stayed. They did not wear warm clothing and did not bring raincoats or hot tea.

Given all the belongings left in the room and the severe weather in the mountains, the police deems it extremely unlikely that the girls went on a hike. They both understood how dangerous poor weather could be and have both walked in the Tatry Mountains before, so it seems unlikely that they would want to do anything so perilous.

Their host, a middle-aged Goral woman, maintains that she was in a different building at the time of their departure and therefore did not see them go. When she discovered that the girls had not returned by dark, she instructed her daughter to contact the local Mountain Rescue Services.

THE QUEST

Their parents immediately initiated a search for them. The police did not waste time searching for girls in Kocieliska and the surrounding area. A helicopter equipped with a thermovision camera was utilised, but nothing was discovered. The authorities initially believed that the girls fled across the border into Slovakia, but this notion was swiftly disproved by the fact that the girls left practically all of their belongings in the leased room.

Someone reported seeing the females at a bus stop boarding a vehicle with foreign licence plates. The sighting was not confirmed, but the police tried to follow it nevertheless; some detectives are still almost certain that Albanian or Serbian mafia abducted the girls. In 1993, an investigation was conducted into an international sex trafficking organisation operating in Eastern Europe. This may seem implausible in the year 2022. However, no evidence to support this notion was discovered, and it was quickly discredited.

Another considered theory was murder. The authorities got information that the host’s son had threatened Ernestyna because she was not interested in him romantically prior to their disappearance. The man had an alibi, and no human remains were discovered near the host’s residence.

Interestingly, neither Kocieliska nor Zakopane reported any verified sightings of the girls on that day. Only the host who spoke with them in the morning claimed to have seen the girls.

Anna and Ernestyna were never located, despite the fact that individuals from around the world reported seeing them. The parents of the girls even engaged clairvoyants to aid, but each of them told them a different scenario, none of which was useful.

Even Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux was questioned, as he was known to have visited Poland and Slovakia in 1993. Another suspect was Pawe H., who murdered a tourist in Zakopane in 2003. None of the criminals had anything meaningful to say in the case though and there was no proof found that they were there around the time of girls’ disappearance.

THE PASSPORT, THE DIARY AND THE MYSTERIOUS PHOTO

Two and a half months after Anna’s disappearance, her stepfather’s automobile was broken into. Anna’s diary and passport, which according to her stepfather were left in a briefcase in the car, were the only goods stolen.

No suspect was located in that case, but the police believes it might have hinted that the girls were still alive at that time somewhere.

On one day Ernestyna’s mother, Krystyna, was left astonished. She noticed a missing person’s poster of her daughter, which featured a photo that was likely taken a few days before her abduction. Ernestyna can be seen in the photo wearing her new jacket, bought expressly for the trip with Anna, meaning the photograph must have been taken by someone in KoĊ›cieliska/Zakopane and also submitted to the police by them.

Krystyna called the Zakopane police station to inquire about the origin of the photograph, but no one could recall; they speculated that one of her parents provided it, which was impossible.

Anna’s and Ernestyna’s parents did all in their power to locate their missing children, even scouring the trains traveling to and from Zakopane on their own. In 2022, Ernestyna’s parents are still actively hunting for the daughters, still hopeful they will get answers they have previously waited almost 30 years for.

Sadly, locals no longer discuss or care much about the disappearance.

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