Home U.S Twist after woman's body found on Sydney's Bronte Beach

Twist after woman's body found on Sydney's Bronte Beach

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 A young woman whose body was washed ashore on a popular Sydney beach is believed to have taken her own life.

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city’s east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body.

Police confirmed on Wednesday morning the death was not being treated as suspicious.

It is now understood the tragedy is a self-harm incident.

The woman had been floating near the shoreline for hours before she was discovered, with witnesses recalling seeing what they thought was a mannequin in the water as early as 5pm on Tuesday.

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city's east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city’s east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body

Officers quickly erected a tent on the beach and set up a crime scene

Officers quickly erected a tent on the beach and set up a crime scene

Surfers who braved dreary conditions to hit the waves at Bronte on Tuesday evening told Daily Mail Australia they spotted a body-like mass ‘surfing with them’ nearby.

They were convinced there was little chance it could be a human, and with no lifeguards back onshore to make a report, they did not contact the police.

But after arriving back around 9am on Wednesday to find a police crime scene, surfer Max Vemeer was horror-stricken to realise what he had witnessed the day before.

‘I went in and there was another guy out and we thought we saw a body nearby,’ he said.

‘It was hard to see, but the hair looked dark. It looked like a woman, and pieces of the skin looked like they were… gone.’

‘It was pretty shocking. It wasn’t nice to see. It was face down so I could see the back. It was weird. It was naked so we thought it must be a dummy.

Surfer Max Verneer has relived the horrifying moment he unknowingly found himself alongside the rotting remains of a woman's decomposed body drifting in the sea off a popular Sydney beach

Surfer Max Verneer has relived the horrifying moment he unknowingly found himself alongside the rotting remains of a woman’s decomposed body drifting in the sea off a popular Sydney beach

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city's east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body

Police were called to the northern end of Bronte Beach in the city’s east around 5.45am on Wednesday after a call from a member of the public who found the body 

‘We weren’t 100 per cent sure, so we didn’t call it in. But it was floating towards the beach so we thought whatever it was would eventually wash ashore.’ 

Another surfer said the dark and stormy conditions had prevented them from confirming exactly what the object was. 

‘We saw what we thought was a body, but no one wanted to get close to it [to check],’ he said.

‘It was really close. We were like surfing with it. Its head was down, so all you could see was what looked like someone’s butt. It was really weird.’ 

Officers at the scene covered the remains before they were carried from the beach on a stretcher and taken away in a van

 Officers at the scene covered the remains before they were carried from the beach on a stretcher and taken away in a van

The one glaring problem with frenzied ‘Melissa Caddick’ speculation 

Social media has erupted with speculation the body could be that of missing financial advisor Melissa Caddick, 49, who vanished 18 months ago amid a police probe into her company.

But the theories have been dispelled by a leading forensic expert. 

Professor Johan Duflou, former clinical director of NSW’s Department of Forensic Medicine, said there’s little chance a body that’s been in the ocean for over a year would be intact.

‘I think it would be highly unlikely there would be anything at all remaining after nearly 18 months in the ocean,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘That’s because of animal predation and the effects of water on the body, along with decomposition.’

Police have also said the body appears to be of a woman around half the age of Ms Caddick, with the victim estimated to be in her 20s to 30s. 

The surfers were shocked when news broke of the body’s discovery on Wednesday morning.

‘We thought it was a mannequin or a dead animal or something,’ added the surfer. 

‘We were going to tell the lifeguards, but when we came back to shore they were all gone.

‘We thought about calling police, but given it was late and dark, we thought there was no way they would be able to find it.’ 

Local couple Max and Anika said the news was ‘pretty confronting’.

‘You never really hear about that sort of thing happening around here,’ Max said.

Bronte resident Jacquie heard about the grim discovery from a friend who lives in Maroubra, further south along the coastline. 

She was shocked by the grim discovery just metres away from her home, where she has lived for more than a decade. 

‘It’s so awful. Just awful,’ she said. 

Another bystander, Hamish, added: ‘It’s pretty shocking. [As a local] you’d like to know what happened.’ 

Officers at the scene on Wednesday covered the remains before they were carried from the beach on a stretcher and taken away in a van.

The discovery fueled a wave of speculation that it could be the corpse of missing conwoman Melissa Caddick who vanished 18 months ago – which was swiftly dismissed by police and a leading forensics expert. 

Police said the corpse appeared to have been in the water for a lengthy period of time. But they believe the remains are likely to be of a woman aged in her 20s or 30s, while Caddick was 49.  

Professor Johan Duflou, former clinical director of NSW’s Department of Forensic Medicine, said it would be ‘highly unlikely there would be anything at all remaining after nearly 18 months in the ocean’.   

A police tent was set up metres from the shore with the northern end of Bronte Beach closed to the public

A police tent was set up metres from the shore with the northern end of Bronte Beach closed to the public 

Police have since packed away the tent and dismantled the crime scene

Police have since packed away the tent and dismantled the crime scene 

Officers launched an investigation with the area cordoned off and declared a crime scene.

A police tent was set up metres from the shore with the northern part of Bronte Beach closed to the public.

Officers are scouring missing person’s records to determine the woman’s identity.    

The crime scene has been dissembled and the northern section of the beach reopened to the public.

For confidential support in Australia, contact Lifeline: 13 11 14, Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636, or Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467.

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