Mystery still surrounds how mother became ‘bag of bones’ at Brisbane cliffs

The family of a woman whose decomposed remains were found in a bag at the bottom of Brisbane’s Kangaroo Point cliffs almost four years ago still have no answers, despite a police murder investigation with substantial reward.

A coroner will take over in the hope of answering questions around the disappearance of mother-of-10 Constance May Watcho, 36, from a Brisbane unit on November 27, 2017.

She was not reported missing for more than two months when her family became concerned, travelled to Brisbane to look for her, and were told nobody had seen her since November.

A coronial inquest will be held later this year to try to determine when, where, and how Watcho died and whether anyone else was involved in her demise.

Among the witnesses to give evidence will be Watcho’s partner, known as ‘Sam’.

He told police he did not report her missing because it was not unusual for her to return to her family in Cherbourg, about 170 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, without telling him.

Another witness will be ‘Paul’. He lived at the River Terrace unit in Kangaroo Point where Watcho and her partner stayed in the days before she disappeared.

Paul was also the one who found the duffel bag containing Watcho’s remains in long grass at the bottom of the Kangaroo Point cliffs on September 8, 2018. However, he did not report his discovery to police until two days later.

At a pre-inquest hearing, Sarah Lio-Willie, counsel assisting coroner Stephanie Gallagher, told the court some further bones belonging to Watcho were found near the bag in the grass.

Police observed the decomposed remains of the head, neck, torso and lower limbs inside the bag. The bones of the upper limbs were found outside the bag, she said.

There were no internal organs to conduct an internal examination and given the state of decomposition, the cause of death could not be determined.

An autopsy showed no fractures in Watcho’s skull, spine or pelvis. But it did show her upper limbs were separated from her body at the shoulders, and her lower limbs separated at the knees.

Police suspect Watcho was murdered and a $250,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction remains on offer, as long as the informant was not directly responsible for Watcho’s death.

An investigation conducted by the Missing Persons Unit and the Homicide Group has revealed very little about Constance’s last movements, how she met her death, if anyone was involved, and any motive as to why, Lio-Willie told the court.

Watcho was last seen leaving the Kangaroo Point unit on November 27, 2017, with Sam.

She accessed her bank account for the final time that day and neither her nor Sam owned mobile phones.

A coronial inquest featuring 17 witnesses will be held in Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 5-9.

It will be the third coronial inquest in a year involving a missing Indigenous woman. The other inquests involve women whose bodies have not been found, and they will focus on the adequacy of police investigations.

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