Esther Wallace is believed to have died of hypothermia.
Esther Wallace, a 47-year-old bushwalker, went missing in central west New South Wales on 30 November after she was separated from her partner while walking in sandals in rugged bushland at about 1 am. The two arrived at the popular walking track and camping spot in the early hours of the morning before sunrise. Her partner reported that she had gone missing on the track around 8 am, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Now officials have discovered her body 12 days later, in dense bushland about 2km from where Wallace was last seen at Federal Falls in the Mount Canobolas state recreation area, near Orange, according to The Guardian. Insp David Maher from the Central West police district said the whole thing was a "terrible accident" and that Wallace is believed to have died of hypothermia. At the time Wallace went missing the weather was harsh with below-zero temperatures, rain, and dry heat.
Missing NSW woman Esther Wallace’s body found 12 days after she disappeared on night bushwalk https://t.co/qajEq7usQ5— Jenny Frecklington-Jones #VoteYes ❤️💛🖤 (@JonesHowdareyou) December 12, 2022
Lachlan Shire mayor, John Medcalf, said the Tottenham "community is definitely thinking of her.” “She’s a part of our community,” he said. Members of State Emergency Services, the local council, and the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service all came together to help in the search.
However, according to Wallace’s adult son, Tyrone Stewart, his mother was not the type to go on a walk to see the sunrise. “When I saw the report that they went to see the sunrise … my mum doesn’t go to watch the sunrise, she doesn’t go bushwalking, especially in sandals,” he said.
The 24-year-old previously told the Central Western Daily before her body was discovered: “Usually, by now, she would contact. I don’t reckon she’s at Mount Canobolas at all,” he said. “She doesn’t go bushwalking at all. She’ll go camping and fishing, but she ain’t out there bushwalking watching the sunrise. That’s not my mum. If she was alive, her mates would be showing her these articles. It’s all over Facebook, it was on the news, and she would contact to say she was safe.”
“Mum, I hope you’re safe. Just contact any of us friends or family. We just want to know you’re OK. We all are very worried. Love you always,” he wrote on social media at the time.
Major breakthrough in search for missing bushwalker Esther Wallace pic.twitter.com/eHhVjDpgSI— DTN NEWS (@DTNNEWUpdates) December 9, 2022
According to 7 News Wallace’s partner is currently not being treated as a suspect and has so far provided useful information. A criminal investigation will continue looking for more answers, and a report is being prepared for the coroner. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Wallace's clothing was discovered scattered throughout the bushland in the days preceding the discovery of her body. Beard speculated that this was due to "paradoxical undressing," a phenomenon in which victims of severe hypothermia remove their clothes as they begin to feel hot due to nerve damage caused by the cold.
A grim discovery has ended a 12 day search for a missing Tottenham woman.— 7NEWS Central West (@7NEWSCentWest) December 12, 2022
Police have found the body of 47 year old Esther Wallace who disappeared after a night time walk. pic.twitter.com/evouujX4Oo
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | LukaTDB