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Police find body of Arizona woman who vanished during pilgrimage in Spain

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2015 file photo, Pilgrims walk along the road of Saint James's Way near the Pyrenees town of Roncesvalles, northern Spain. A suspect was arrested Friday Sept. 11, 2015, in connection with the disappearance of American woman Denise Thiem, 41, missing since April from a famed Christian pilgrimage route in northern Spain, a Spanish security official said.  (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2015 file photo, Pilgrims walk along the road of Saint James's Way near the Pyrenees town of Roncesvalles, northern Spain. A suspect was arrested Friday Sept. 11, 2015, in connection with the disappearance of American woman Denise Thiem, 41, missing since April from a famed Christian pilgrimage route in northern Spain, a Spanish security official said. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos, File)  (The Associated Press)

The body of an American woman who went missing in Spain during a pilgrimage may have been found, police said Saturday.

Denise Thiem, 41, a world traveler originally from Arizona, went missing while she was hiking the Camino de Santiago, a popular pilgrimage whose spiritual route includes stops at dozens of majestic churches in northern Spain.

Police said they have a suspect who led them to a body that investigators believe could belong to Thiem.

A ministry spokesman said Miguel Angel Muñoz, 39, 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. There were "well-founded suspicions" Muñoz was responsible for her death, said Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz. The remains found at the property also "effectively appear to those of Denise," Fernandez Diaz told reporters.

The minister said Munoz had been arrested when a police operation found him in the town of Grandas de Salime in the province of Asturias where he had fled.

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Thiem was last seen April 5 walking along the route at the town of Astorga, 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Santa Catalina de Somoza, which is also on the St. James Way and is the town closest to Munoz's farm, the ministry said.

The suspect was described by the ministry as a man who "was little-known in his own neighborhood and did not relate much to society."

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

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.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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