Neighbours didn't know there was a body in backyard

MYSTERY surrounds the discovery of a 39-year-old woman's body on a bushy suburban block in Goonellabah on Monday night.

The Northern Star contacted the owner of the land, Marshall Fittler, yesterday and broke the news of the gruesome discovery.

"I didn't hear anything except the dog barking at one stage," he said of the police search on Monday.

BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star
BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star Hamish Broome

Mr Fittler said police hadn't visited him to tell him the body of a woman was found near the back of his five acre property.

"That's a bit strange and I'm very sad for the woman," he said.

"I haven't heard a thing. I was completely oblivious to it until you told me."

One neighbour said he only discovered something was happening when police knocked on his door Monday night.

BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star
BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star Hamish Broome

"I had a visit from two police officers who asked if they could look around my property," he said.

Another neighbour said he found out about the woman's death via a text from a work colleague yesterday morning.

Neighbours opposite the site and staff and patrons at the nearby Goonellabah Tavern had no idea of the discovery, which police aren't treating as suspicious.

Lismore Acting Inspector Russell Ewing said officers investigating the whereabouts of a missing person received information which led them to the site about 8.30pm.

"That's where the woman was last seen," he said.

Act Insp Ewing said police found the body of a woman in bushland just north of the Kadina St pedestrian footbridge.

BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star
BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star Hamish Broome

He said the woman was not 54-year-old Ellen Wilson, who was last seen on Friday, September 11, at Ballina's Australian Hotel.

A crime scene was set up and examined by specialist forensic officers. Investigations are continuing.

Act Insp Ewing said the were no obvious signs of the cause of death.

He would not comment on whether the woman's body was fully clothed when it was found.

"The woman has not been formally identified and a post-mortem (examination) will be conducted to determine the cause of death," he said.

"We know who it is, however she hasn't yet been formally identified so we can't release any further details at this stage."

Act Insp Ewing said the body was not found in plastic bags on the road side.

BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star
BODY FOUND: Police on the scene at Goonellabah where a 39 year old woman's remains were found. Photo Hamish Broome / The Northern Star Hamish Broome

A coronial examination is expected in coming days.

"The coroner has to make an order for that to happen, which will probably be today," Act Insp Ewing said.


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