The family of a young Melbourne woman killed in suspicious circumstances while volunteering in Mozambique has pleaded with Australian authorities to help them get “some sort of closure”.
Elly Warren, 20, was found dead by fishermen behind a toilet block in the coastal town of Tofo on November 9, 2016. She was face-down in the sand, with her underwear around her knees.
Her family has been calling for a probe into her death for years and on Monday pleaded with State Coroner John Cain to set a date for an inquest, The Herald Sun reports.
“We need some sort of closure,” Elly’s mum, Nicole Cafarella, told the court.
“This has been an exhausting journey for us all.”
On the night before her body was found, Elly – who had hoped to become a marine biologist – had been out with friends from Casa Barry Beach Lodge and was dancing in the street.
Sometime after 2am, a man watched her walk from the Pariango Beach Motel towards the Tofo De Mar Hotel and a street clustered with snack bars.
Three hours later, a fisherman found Elly’s body near the toilet block, the location of the town’s only public freshwater taps where fishermen went daily to prime their boats.
Multiple forensic examinations revealed the fit and healthy young woman died from asphyxia, after inhaling sand into her lower airways, and had no drugs in her system.
It would prove, however, the sand was a golden yellow, the kind found at the beach, and not the black sand around the toilet block.
Elly’s body appeared to have been moved. The fisherman who found her had taken a clear photo which indicated a struggle.
Coroner Darren Bracken in February 2021 grilled AFP about the status of its joint investigation with Mozambican authorities and demanded it step it up, after he ordered an inquest be held, the Herald Sun reports.
Elly’s family was promised at the time that the inquest would be launched by mid-2021 but Mr Warren said the case continued to “drag on”.
The case is expected to return to court in May for a further directions hearing before the inquest begins.