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Medication found near body of Spanish skier Blanca Fernández Ochoa

A massive search for the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist came to a tragic end on Wednesday, when the 56-year-old’s corpse was located in the Sierra de Madrid mountains

Blanca Fernandez Ochoa
The body is undergoing forensic testing to determine the cause of death. GTRES

Medication was found next to the body of Blanca Fernández Ochoa, a Spanish skier and Olympic medalist whose corpse was located on Wednesday after a days-long search in the in the Sierra de Madrid mountains north of the capital.

Investigators have confirmed that several types of prescription drugs were lying next to the body, which was in an advanced state of decomposition. The former skier was identified through her clothes and footwear.

The skier with her bronze medal at the 1992 Albertville Games.
The skier with her bronze medal at the 1992 Albertville Games. IOC

Ochoa, the first Spanish woman to win a winter Olympic medal, had been reported missing on August 24. The search effort to find her was the biggest ever organized in the Madrid region, with more than 200 law enforcement officers, helicopters, drones, horses and tracking dogs.

The cause of death will be officially determined by forensic toxicology testing that could take weeks. A preliminary autopsy has been conducted and the conclusions are expected soon.

The police reported that the body of the 56-year-old was located on the mountain peak of La Peñota, near Cercedilla, a mountain town with strong ties to the Ochoa family. She was last seen alive on August 24, first at an Hipercor supermarket in Pozuelo de Alarcón, and later in Cercedilla where a local resident saw her headed for the area where she was found on Wednesday.

Blanca Fernández Ochoa in 2013.
Blanca Fernández Ochoa in 2013. Getty

Her relatives began to worry when she failed to come home and did not get in touch. She had also left her cellphone behind.

Fernández Ochoa had recently moved in with her sister and brother-in-law after getting divorced from her second husband and selling the family home in the Madrid municipality Las Rozas. Her two children, Olivia and David, were living with their father.

After ending her career, she had taken up other sports such as golf, and participated in a few reality shows on television. Most recently she had been making a living as a personal trainer, like her sister Lola, but her financial situation was described by family members as “very precarious.”

On the podium celebrating her performance in the slalom race.
On the podium celebrating her performance in the slalom race. EFE

The skier’s relatives have informed the mayor of Cercedilla that they wish to hold the wake there. The town is home to a monument to her brother, Francisco “Paquito” Fernández Ochoa, honoring his achievements at the Sapporo Games of 1972. Cercedilla is also where Blanca was carried aloft by a jubilant crowd after she won bronze in the slalom at the Albertville Games in 1992.

English version by Susana Urra.

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