An elderly aged care resident in Cairns has died from what authorities are suspecting is a crocodile attack.
Anne Cameron was a 79 year old resident at an OzCare facility in Craiglie when she went missing on Tuesday afternoon.
Police believe a crocodile took her when they found some of Anne’s clothes, her walking stick and human remains near the Craiglie Creek bank – which is known to be a crocodile infested area – only two day after she went missing.
Anne had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and had moved to Cairns from Canberra to be closer to her family.
The home where she resided was a low-care facility for early-onset dementia patients. Her family said that despite her diagnosis, she was still “fiercely independent”.
The grandmother took regular afternoon walks, but would often get lost according to her family.
“Mum even said to me when we were out for walks if I actually turned the wrong direction I am frightened I would lose my way,” her son Craig Eggins told the ABC.
“We are certain she got disorientated … then she became confused as to which way she was supposed to go.”
“It was getting on to dusk and she had cataracts so that would have made it harder for her as well.”
Despite any challenges she may have faced, she and her family wanted to maintain an active lifestyle that she enjoyed.
“She loved her life up here,” said her son, who says the family are still coming to terms with the shock.
“But we are holding onto the fact that mum would have been glad she was not subjected to the insidious nature of Alzheimer’s,” he said.
“Dying slowly with pieces of her missing every day until she could not remember who she was or who anybody else was.”
“She loved being with us … she loved the facility she was at and that she had the freedom to come and go.”
It is understood that the family had not requested any supervision for her during her regular walks.
Ozcare’s Port Douglas facility manager Daniel Robinson said that they were deeply saddened by the disappearance of a “much-loved resident”.
“Mrs Cameron was not a resident of our special care secure unit,” they said, as their secure area is home to residents who are placed there under the advice of a medical officer.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Anne’s family during this time.”
Forensic tests are still to be taken on the human remains found, in order to confirm that they belong to Anne Cameron.
But since no one else was reported missing in the area, it was deemed the “logical conclusion” that they belonged to the missing grandmother.
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