Body found in Spain likely that of missing American woman

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Suspect Arrested in Case of Missing U.S. Tourist in Spain

MADRID (AP) -- A body found on a rural property in northwest Spain is most likely that of an American woman who went missing while walking along a pilgrimage route, Spanish officials said Saturday.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said evidence pointed to the remains being those of Denise Thiem. He said there were "well-founded suspicions" that the 39-year-old prime suspect arrested over her disappearance was responsible for her death.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote to John McCain, the U.S. senator for Arizona, to inform him of developments.

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Body found in Spain likely that of missing American woman
A poster with the picture of missing US pilgrim Denise Thiem is seen at an hostel in the village of El Ganso, on the Way of Saint James close to Astorga, on May 29, 2015. Thiem went missing on April 5 in this area as she was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which attact hundreds of thousands of people each year. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A police car passes by a pilgrim walking alone on the Way of Saint James in the village of El Ganso, close to Astorga, on May 29, 2015. US pilgrim Denise Thiem went missing on April 5 in this area as she was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which attact hundreds of thousands of people each year. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A police car passes by a pilgrim walking alone on the Way of Saint James in the village of El Ganso, close to Astorga, on May 29, 2015. US pilgrim Denise Thiem went missing on April 5 in this area as she was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which attact hundreds of thousands of people each year. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A pilgrim walks alone on the Way of Saint James near the village of Manjarin, between Astorga and Ponferrada, on May 29, 2015. US pilgrim Denise Thiem went missing on April 5 in this area as she was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which attact hundreds of thousands of people each year. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A pilgrim walks alone on the Way of Saint James near the village of Manjarin, between Astorga and Ponferrada, on May 29, 2015. US pilgrim Denise Thiem went missing on April 5 in this area as she was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which attact hundreds of thousands of people each year. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
A pilgrim walks alone on the Way of Saint James near the village of Santa Catalina de Somoza, close to Astorga, on May 29, 2015. US pilgrim Denise Thiem went missing on April 5 in this area as she was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which attact hundreds of thousands of people each year. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
In this image from TV taken on Friday Sept. 11, 2015 and made available Saturday Sept. 12, 2015, authorities lead suspect Miguel Angel Munoz, center in green, out of a building, in Grandas de Salime, northwest Spain. A body found on a rural property in northwest Spain is most likely that of an American woman who went missing while walking along a pilgrimage route, officials said Saturday. Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said evidence pointed to the remains being those of Denise Thiem and there were "well-founded suspicions" that the 39-year-old prime suspect arrested over her disappearance was responsible for her death. (Rocio Ferreira via APTN)
A couple of pilgrims walk on the Way of Saint James near the village of Santa Catalina de Somoza, close to Astorga, on May 29, 2015. US pilgrim Denise Thiem went missing on April 5 in this area as she was walking along the Camino Frances, one of the most popular of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which attact hundreds of thousands of people each year. AFP PHOTO/ MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
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"The main suspect was arrested by the National Police and he confessed to them where Denise's body was to be found," Rajoy said in a letter made available to The Associated Press. "I want to convey the sorrow of the Spanish people for this tragic outcome."

A ministry spokesman had earlier said Miguel Angel Munoz had led investigators to his small farm near the Camino de Santiago, also called the St. James Way, after being arrested Friday in Asturias, 200 kilometers (124 miles) to the north.

Thiem, 41, of Arizona, was last seen April 5 walking along the route at the town of Astorga, 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Santa Catalina de Somoza, the town closest to Munoz's farm, the ministry said.

Fernandez Diaz said the FBI had cooperated in the search, which at one point involved 300 police and military personnel.

The Camino de Santiago has for centuries led pilgrims and tourists to the city of Santiago de Compostela at Spain's northwestern tip, where the cathedral is believed to house the bones of St. James, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus.

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