British backpacker died from 'traumatic brain injury' in Guatemala, autopsy report says

A 23-year-old British backpacker whose body was found Monday near a highland lake in Guatemala popular with tourists died of hemorrhaging resulting from a traumatic brain injury, according to an autopsy report.

The National Institute of Forensic Sciences of Guatemala said in a statement that Catherine Shaw had died 4 to 6 days earlier.

Shaw, from Witney, England, was staying in San Pedro La Laguna, about 50 miles west of Guatemala City. Police announced Monday that her body had been found unclothed and in a state of decomposition in the brush near a mountain overlook.

She was last seen alive taking a puppy for a walk in the early hours on March 5 before her body was discovered, Sky News reported.

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A doctor who performed the examination on Shaw said her body showed signs of trauma but no apparent gunshot or stab wounds.

"In the preliminary findings, there are no wounds from bullets or sharp weapons," Miguel Angel Samayoa told The Associated Press. "There are blows to the body."

Catherine Shaw had been traveling since last September.

Catherine Shaw had been traveling since last September. (Facebook)

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which has been assisting Shaw's family, issued a statement urging people not to speculate about her death and saying it may have been a "tragic accident" not involving foul play.

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It added that Shaw had been fasting for days before her disappearance and "disposing of possessions, including clothing."

A police officer walks outside the morgue where an autopsy is being performed on the body of English tourist Catherine Shaw in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

A police officer walks outside the morgue where an autopsy is being performed on the body of English tourist Catherine Shaw in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)

"She was very much a nature lover and adored sunrises, so it seems quite conceivable that she went up the mountain to greet the sunrise, shedding clothing as she went, and due to her lack of intake of food and fluid may have passed out or fallen, causing the wounds to her body," the statement added, cautioning that not all the facts are known and nothing can be ruled out.

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Paying tribute to their daughter, Shaw's parents Ann and Tarquin said the 23-year-old "just loved mountains and sunrises" and "she died doing what she loved."

The British Embassy confirmed with the Asscoiated Press that Tarquin Shaw, the woman's father, identified the body Tuesday in Guatemala, and said it was working with local authorities and assisting the family.

Fox News' Katherine Lam, Nicole Darrah, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.