TRIBUTES have been paid to Russian student Yulia Solodyankina, after police confirmed human remains found in Argyll were those of the missing dancer.
Friends said “no words can express the sadness we feel” at the news that DNA tests confirmed that the body, discovered in woodland near the A83 west of Arrochar last Thursday, was that of the missing student.
Yulia had been missing since June, prompting a huge campaign by friends and family in a bid to find out what had happened to her.
Police today said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
A statement released by friends of the 22-year-old, who helped co-ordinate a nationwide search for her, said: “No words can express the sadness we feel regarding the death of our friend Yulia. We feel blessed to have spent the time that we did with her. Yulia was full of energy, a beautiful dancer, caring friend and a kind and gentle soul. Our thoughts go out to her family and loved ones.
“We would like to thank the thousands of people involved in the Find Yulia campaign. It has been heartening to realise how many people really care. We would encourage anyone struggling or feeling a sense of desperation to reach out for help and support.
“We miss Yulia so much and will never forget her.”
The Evening News revealed last Saturday that police believed the body was that of the missing student. However, formal identification was delayed due to difficulty in obtaining a reliable DNA sample.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Following further forensic examination and DNA testing, we can confirm the identity as that of Russian student, Yulia Solodyankina who had been reported missing in June. There are no suspicious circumstances in connection with the death.”
Yulia’s family, who are based in Moscow, were unavailable for comment last night.
Yulia, who had been in the Capital for four years studying physics at the University of Edinburgh, was last seen at Buchanan Street bus station in Glasgow on June 7 last year. The night before she disappeared she had performed at The Wee Red Bar at Edinburgh College of Art with dance and drumming group Anansi, whom she was also due to appear with at the Musselburgh Children’s Gala Day a few days later. Anansi drummer Graham Clark, who was one of the last people to see Yulia the night before she disappeared, said: “I used to dream about seeing Yulia once more, giving her a hug and telling her how angry I was with her that she went away so suddenly, and how worried we had been. I am not angry with her. I am sad because I can’t tell her how much she meant to me. I will never see her face again. I will never see her dance. I will never see her smile.
“She was quiet, funny and brave. She was my friend. I am sorry I could not help her when she needed it, but I did what I could. I am sad to have lost a friend I held so dearly. I hope she is at peace now.”