|Stefan Ramin and Heike Dorsch|
Stefan Ramin, 40, had been sailing around the world for the past three years with his girlfriend, Heike Dorsch, when he stopped on Nuku Hiva in the Marquesa islands in mid-September.
Ramin, a native of Hamburg, went on a hike into the jungle earlier this month with a local goat hunter, Henri Haiti, according to Radio New Zealand International.
But Haiti returned alone, telling Dorsch that Ramin was hurt. “There’s been an accident. He needs help,” she quoted him as saying.
When Dorsch, 37, became alarmed and decided to get the police, Haiti tied her to a tree, sexually assaulted her and vanished, according to the newspaper La Depeche de Tahiti.
Dorsch freed herself and alerted authorities, who began an intensive search in the interior of the island, best known as a site from the reality TV show “Survivor.”
After a week of scouring the jungle, police found a campfire on Saturday with human remains that they suspect came from a body that was hacked to pieces and burned. They also said there were indications the body belonged to Ramin.
Police are awaiting DNA tests conducted in Paris for confirmation, and the results are not expected for several weeks.
In addition, a jawbone with prosthetic teeth, melted metal which could come from fillings, and burnt clothing were found. Reports differ as to whether they were found at the campfire or in a nearby valley.
Meanwhile, army officers have begun a search for Haiti, who is missing.
The island, which was the setting for two novels by “Moby-Dick” author Herman Melville, is believed to have a history of cannibalism -- but there are no confirmed instances of it in the last century.
Residents of the island, with a population of approximately 2,000, said the case is baffling.
“No one can believe what has happened,” deputy island mayor Deborah Kimitete said. “This has never happened before. This is the first time, and it’s horrible.”
She added that locals are upset with the attention.
“We do not like headlines,” she said.
Ramin and Dorsch, both economists, reportedly planned to wind up their odyssey in New Zealand next year. In a Facebook post dated Oct. 9, Ramin indicated he would leave Nuku Hiva for the nearby Tuamotu atolls. A friend, Martina Luttgen, replied, “I am stunned and hope for a miracle.”