The Belgian’s death in Langtan National Park, on the border with Tibet, is the latest in a string of assaults and disappearances of young women in Nepal’s Himalayan national parks.
The US Embassy has now issued a warning against women trekking solo in the region. Local inspector Bhakta Sunuwar said police had no leads on the culprit and were trying to establish if Debbie Maveau had been killed by someone she met before the trek.
He added: “Her head was around 13 inches from the rest of her body. “People are not cooperating with the investigation. Everyone in the area says they have not seen her.
“We found that she had travelled to Dhunche from Kathmandu by bus but none of the drivers in the area confirmed that they had seen her.”
Nepalese police have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of the body on June 14 when local villagers tipped off authorities.
Insp Sunuwar said robbery and rape were unlikely motives since her underwear had not been removed and her camera and 8,000 rupees (£90) in cash were not taken.
American Lena Sessions, 23, was hiking solo in December in Langtang when she was threatened with sexual assault by a masked man with a knife, but managed to escape.
The incident came a week after a South Korean woman was assaulted nearby.