Crocodile at­tack fears for de­men­tia suf­ferer, 79

The Australian - - THE NATION - MARK SCHLIEBS

There are fears a miss­ing el­derly woman was taken by a crocodile in far north Queens­land after po­lice found her walk­ing stick, cloth­ing and what ap­pear to be hu­man re­mains on a creek bank.

Queens­land Po­lice say they can­not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity that a crocodile has at­tacked Anne Cameron, a 79-year-old who was last seen at her aged care home near Port Dou­glas on Tues­day.

Ms Cameron suf­fers de­men­tia and has poor eye­sight, and had moved from Can­berra to Craiglie about a month ago to be closer to fam­ily mem­bers.

Act­ing In­spec­tor Ed Lukin said a search of an area south of the fa­cil­ity by po­lice, fire­fight­ers and the State Emer­gency Ser­vice dis­cov­ered items be­long­ing to her yes­ter­day morn­ing.

“Ear­lier to­day, about mid­morn­ing, we lo­cated a num­ber of items in­clud­ing cloth­ing which we be­lieve are from the miss­ing per­son. We also lo­cated a walk­ing stick with her name on it,” In­spec­tor Lukin said yes­ter­day.

“Now we’ve also lo­cated some bi­o­log­i­cal mat­ter which we be­lieve to be hu­man re­mains. Those items are cur­rently be­ing tested in Cairns. The fam­ily has been no­ti­fied of this and they ask for their pri­vacy (to be re­spected).”

Of­fi­cers were search­ing the creek bank, about two kilo­me­tres from the aged care fa­cil­ity. The creek feeds into the Mow­bray River, where three large croc­o­diles — in­clud­ing one known by lo­cals as “Mo” — are reg­u­larly pho­tographed by tourists.

Ms Cameron’s grand­daugh­ter, Is­abella Eg­gins, re­leased a state­ment yes­ter­day af­ter­noon that said the fam­ily be­lieved Ms Cameron had died.

“It is my deep re­gret to in­form you that fol­low­ing an ex­ten­sive search and the dis­cov­ery of cer- tain items as a re­sult of that search, we have the firm be­lief that my (grand­mother) Anne Cameron has passed away in tragic cir­cum­stances,” Ms Eg­gins said in a post on a Port Dou­glas Face­book group. “We would like to sin­cerely thank the po­lice, SES, fire bri­gade and ev­ery­one in the Port Dou­glas com­mu­nity who helped us in the search for Anne.”

Po­lice be­lieve Ms Cameron had be­come dis­ori­en­tated after wan­der­ing away from the Oz­care fa­cil­ity.

In­spec­tor Lukin said he could not rule out a crocodile at­tack. “At this stage, we have kept every avail­able op­tion open to us,” he said. “We con­tinue to search that area in the hope that we do find her alive. Be­cause of the prox­im­ity of these items and this un­known ma­te­rial lo­cated near this creek bank, we can­not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a croc at­tack.”

Two salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles that in­habit the river and 79-yearold Anne Cameron

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