Hearts shattered: Families’ grief after couple die in a fall
THE families of a Townsville couple reportedly found dead in remote bushland have shared their grief on social media.
Simon Walker, 24, and Sherei Anderson, 32, were reported missing after they failed to turn up to work on Monday.
In an update this afternoon, Cairns Police Detective Acting Inspector Ed Kinbacher said the bodies were found at Kearneys Falls by the emergency helicopter last night.
"Today, police have attended and the bodies have been recovered from the location and they have been identified as two Townsville residents - a 32-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man," Insp Kinbacher said.
He added the pair were in Cairns on Thursday, after Sherei returned from a trip to Japan when the couple decided to take a camping trip.
"We believe this incident is a direct consequence of misadventure rather than any third party involvement," Insp Kinbacher said.
"It appears in the preliminary stages (of the investigation) they have fallen, making the unwise decision to climb the quite steep falls which were in fact closed above that swimming hole … and falling to their deaths."
He said police were still attempting to piece together the timing of the tragedy, but they believe that the couple had arrived at the campground after dark and had gone for an early morning swim.
They asked for anyone who may have seen the couple at the campground to come forward so police can piece together their final moments.
The couple were travelling in a white utility and were parked near the entry to Kearneys Falls path.
Insp Kinbacher said the bodies were found at a high point of the rock, but couldn't say for sure how far the pair had fallen.
He said it was a "difficult set of circumstances" for the young couple's family, particularly for Sherei whose mother was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in Townsville in 2011.
"Her family's had a tragic history recently, she's lost family members … she was the oldest member of the family group who was providing support for her family members so it's a very sad story for that family," Insp Kinbacher said.
"And the young man, a 24-year-old in the military in Townsville and had his life to live."
Ms Anderson, an administration worker, had just arrived back in Cairns after a holiday in Japan and the couple were planning to spend a day camping at Goldsborough before returning to work in Townsville on Monday.
Mr Walker was a Townsville-based soldier and the couple loved adventuring in the outdoors with their social media accounts littered with camping adventures.
Mr Walker's brother Lincoln posted a statement on his Facebook page:
"On behalf of the Walker Family, with a shattered heart and tears in my eyes. Our Youngest Brother/Son Simon is no longer with us. While we are shocked and filled with grief, we will post more details of his funeral at a later date. I Love You Simon. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten."
His mum Beryl shared a photo of the pair on Facebook with the caption: "My heart".
Ms Anderson, who is originally from Gordonvale, lost her mother in a motorbike crash in 2010 and has raised her three young sisters ever since.
Her second youngest sister Chloe Anderson took to social media and said she had lost her "best friend".
"As many of you may know, the person who raised me, my sister and my best friend passed away suddenly," she said.
"Thankyou everyone for your messages and thoughts to me and my family, it certainly hasn't gone unnoticed in the past 24 hours."
Ms Anderson attended Ingham State High School and moved to Townsville in grade 11 or 12, according to a friend.
The parents are understood to have split and Sherei moved to Townsville with her mother, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident a couple of years later.
"It's not like her, when she went missing I said to my husband 'this sounds really odd' because it's not like her, she wouldn't leave her sisters," her friend said.
"It's a shock, particularly given what they've been through."
Det Acting Insp Kinbacher said they were working to identify exactly when the tragedy occurred and wanted to speak with anyone who stayed at the campground last Thursday or Friday.
He described the area the pair were climbing as dangerous and slippery.
This is not the first fatal incident at the falls with a man falling to his death there in 2013.