Authorities are hunting a crocodile suspected of snatching elderly woman at a creek in northern Australia, police said.
Anne Cameron’s clothes, walking stick and what appeared to be human remains were found near the creek bank on Thursday, two days after the 79-year-old dementia sufferer wandered from a nursing home at Port Douglas in Queensland state, Police Inspector Ed Lukin said.
Police suspect she wandered into tropical forest and became disoriented, triggering an extensive search.
The remains were found about one mile from the nursing home.
The remains were expected to be confirmed as human by pathologists in Cairns on Friday, Mr Lukin said.
State rangers set crocodile traps on Thursday night, he said.
The woman’s granddaughter Isabella Eggins posted on social media that the family “have the firm belief that my nan Anne Cameron has passed away in tragic circumstances”.
Unlike sharks, crocodiles are territorial and killer animals are usually caught near the scene of attacks. Crocodiles have been a protected species in Australia since the 1970s, which has led to an explosion in their population across the country’s tropical north.
Because saltwater crocodiles can live up 70 years and grow throughout their lives — reaching up to 23 feet in length — the proportion of large crocodiles is also rising.