Colleen South who vanished in mysterious circumstances is discovered 5km from her abandoned car
The family of a grandmother who mysteriously disappeared more than a month ago has revealed that they found her body a few miles from her abandoned car.
Colleen South, 58, drove her Hyundai Getz from her home in Renown Park SA across the Victorian border on July 1 and was stopped on the side of the Calder Highway on July 2 before disappearing the next day.
After weeks of holding out hope and searching the area and small town near where her car was found, her devastated family broke the news Monday night.
‘I don’t know how to write this. We are heartbroken and in shock,” a family member posted on social media.
Colleen’s body was unfortunately found tonight in a paddock 3 miles from where her car was found.
“We don’t have answers to what happened yet, but we’ll update you as soon as we have.”
Veronica South (pictured right with her mom Colleen) insists her mom’s disappearance is out of character and should be treated as suspicious
Ms South’s niece actress Farah Mak said she hopes the family will “find her together” (pictured)
Mary Headon, who saw her car in July and stopped to check on the grandmother, said she looked ill.
“When we got back, she was just lying in the car with her head back. She looked very, very tired or a little sick, I thought, her eyes were very glassy,” Mary Headon said, stopping to check on her. A current matter.
The next day, a farmer saw the vehicle driving along the nearby Jeruk River Road around 3:30 p.m.
But later that evening, on July 3, her car was found abandoned in a ditch near Bunguluke, about 345 miles from her home in the suburbs of Adelaide.
Her family is now desperate for answers and is calling on the police to treat the case as suspicious.
None of the surrounding farmers or any of the 600 people in the nearby town of Wycheproof saw or heard from Mrs South.
Her belongings, including a bag and diary, were found yards from her car, where the airbags had deployed, but her cell phone was not found.
About 10 concerned relatives have visited Wycheproof as the family searches for clues.
Her daughter Veronica has repeatedly made the five-hour drive from SA over the past two weeks; liaising with the police, talking to the local population and putting up posters for missing persons.
“Mom, if you see this, we hope you’re safe and we’re not giving up on finding you, we’re looking here as much as we can and we won’t give up,” Veronica said. .
South actress’ cousin Farah Mak also tries to find out what really happened, saying she “continues to imagine that we will all find her together, which would be unbelievable.”
“There’s something eerie, like following in your footsteps and wondering, what were her steps? What was she thinking? What was she doing?
“We’re looking around for clues, for evidence of where she might have walked, where she might be.”
Veronica messaged her mother to tell her to ‘don’t give up’ on finding her (pictured with her aunt and Mrs. South’s sister)
After previously criticizing the police response, the family said they were pleased to see a large number of officers searching during their latest visit.
About 40 specialized agents have joined the search.
“We’ve had our stuffed twig on horses. We’ve had our special solos on motorcycles. We have had our dog police here with their dog brigade’, says inspector Gerard de Vries.
‘We’ve got some police on foot, some police from Melbourne, Swan Hill, Mildura.
“We’ve got the location where the vehicle was discovered, and we’ve expanded that, but that’s revising our maps and GPS tracking from what we’ve done before and expanding that to areas that we think should be looked at. ‘
Veronica said he hopes the family will find Mrs. South soon.
A relative of Mrs South previously claimed that her uncle had “found used shotgun shells at the crime scene”, but detectives “didn’t follow up or report on it”.
Though she was “out of character,” Victoria police said they did not consider the grandmother’s disappearance suspicious.
Medication found by Veronica South and her friends in the area where her mother disappeared
Ms Mak previously hit out on social media to criticize the Victoria Police Department over allegations it had botched the investigation.
“My cousin found footprints and a lit fire nearby – @victoriapolice said no footprints were found,” she wrote.
‘Photos taken by @victoriapolice show tire trucks from a vehicle next to my aunt’s personal belongings where she would have been – not a crime scene investigation. My cousin and her friends were told ‘this could have been anything’.’
Victoria Police issued a statement Monday afternoon rejecting the family’s claims that Ms South may have been the victim of a crime.
It also hit back at claims that proper research had not been conducted.
“The Victoria Police Department began an extensive search of the area’s dense undergrowth, searching Air Wing and Drone, along with Mounted Branch, Canine Unit, foot and in-vehicle officers along with SES,” the statement read.
‘Local farmers have also been asked to check buildings and barns for their properties.’
The detectives claim that the only fears they harbor for Ms. South stem from a known medical condition and that her “disappearance does not suit her.”
Her diary found in her abandoned belongings contained a handwritten note with the words ‘help me please’.
It’s been nearly three weeks since Colleen South (pictured) was last seen by loved ones
A distressing note asking for help was found in Mrs South’s diary near her abandoned car
“We hope we get action and results from the Victoria Police Department by treating this as a crime and investigating accordingly to find Colleen as soon as possible,” Ms South’s niece Farah Mak (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia .
Veronica told Daily Mail Australia that she had made the five and a half hour journey from Adelaide at least three times in the past week to conduct her own searches in Wycheproof.
She finds her mother’s disappearance suspicious because her belongings have been left with the car door locked.
“Also… there’s no trace of my mother, or footprints where she’s walked, and no smell of the dogs.
‘My mother didn’t go to the farmers for help either. The house is right next to where her car was found, so she would certainly have gone there for help, but there’s no record of anyone seeing her, which I find odd.”
A Facebook page called Bring Colleen Home, set up by Mrs. South’s family, has grown to more than 500 members.
Her daughter took to Facebook Sunday night to provide an update on her harrowing ordeal.
“It’s been two weeks since you missed Mom,” Veronica wrote.
Ms South was last seen by a witness in her Hyundai Getz (pictured) on July 3. The car was found abandoned an hour later
Ms South’s personal items, including bags and keys, were found 20 yards from her car
“Although it feels like a very long time, but I’m just starting this quest. I spoke to the locals today and met farmers, it was no luck to get new evidence today.
“I pray we find you soon and every day it feels like I’m one step closer to you. It hasn’t been easy. I miss you everyday.
“Tomorrow we may get an update from the police on where to look from here. We think positively and hopefully we will get a positive result.’
CCTV footage captured Ms South visiting a Liquorland in St Agnes around 11:50am on 2 July, with police thinking she was then on her way to rural northern Victoria.
The last reported sighting was made the following day, when a witness saw her behind the wheel of her Hyundai Getz in Ninyeunook, 267 km north of Melbourne.
About an hour later, a farmer noticed Mrs South’s car parked under a tree on the side of Mackies Road, 16 miles away in Bunguluke.
Two days later, the farmer called the police after realizing that the car had crashed into a ditch and sustained damage, with airbags deployed.
Ms South’s belongings were found about 20 meters from the car, including her handbag, wallet, keys and a diary.
On Saturday, the group found Mrs South’s essential medication, trampled grass, a pen, footprints and a recently lit campfire.
Mrs. South is described as 154 cm tall with a heavy build, green eyes and brown hair. She was last seen in blue jeans and a black and white striped shirt.
Anyone who sees Colleen or has information is asked to contact police.