Mystery surrounds mum’s bush death
HOMICIDE detectives have headed to the West Australian mining town of Tom Price to start combing the area where the body of beloved mum-of-two Felicity Shadbolt was found.
Ms Shadbolt, 36, was young and fit and regularly ran the trails surrounding the remote town, leaving police scratching their heads and refusing to rule out foul play.
A Western Australia Police spokeswoman confirmed homicide detectives had headed up to the remote Pilbara region to assist local officers.
"They're going to employ everything they possibly can to make sure they haven't left anything out," the spokeswoman said.
"They're covering all the bases."
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Pilbara District Police Inspector Ray Thompson said officers were completing their forensic investigation.
"Given that there is now a death, this becomes a coroner's investigation and we are in attendance to establish the cause of death," he said.
"A member of the public assisted police, provided us with information and we were able to locate (her).
"It has not been labelled a suspicious death. We've located Felicity in unfortunate circumstances and it's now in the investigative stage."
The temperature around Tom Price and Mount Nameless, where Ms Shadbolt had gone running, regularly exceeds 40C this time of year.
"These are tragic circumstances. The environment over the last four days was very harsh and it was harsh for everyone involved. It was harsh for the family particularly," Inspector Thompson said.
The mum-of-two was found not far from her car late on Wednesday by a member of the public, four days after she set out on a run near Mount Nameless. She had a hydration pack with her.
She texted her family just before 1pm on Sunday telling them she'd be home in 20 minutes but never returned.
The Shadbolt family reported her missing when she failed to come home and police and volunteers kicked off a massive search effort, battling days of scorching heat to try to find the mum after discovering her car at the bottom of the mountain.
Police attempted to triangulate the phone's location using the local mobile tower but said the area pinpointed was too broad. Calls to Ms Shadbolt were ringing out until early Monday morning.
The ground and aerial search covered more than 70,000 hectares and included local community volunteers, drones and Pony Club members on horseback.
Police were forced to temporarily suspend the search when temperatures soared above 40C and thunderstorms lashed the area.
But on Wednesday night their worst fears were realised when someone found the 36-year-old's body less than 500m away from the Tom Price caravan park.
Ms Shadbolt's family have been assisting police with the search, with her mother and older sister flying to the mining town on Tuesday.
- with wires