Missing mom-of-two Lasonya Dutton's body found being eaten by a dog in her own home's backyard
It has been almost 18 months since Lasonya Dutton's tragic death, but her bereaved family is still in the dark about how and why she died
NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA: In their ongoing struggle for justice, the grieving family of a young Indigenous mother-of-two whose decomposing body was discovered being eaten by a dog in the family's backyard may finally receive some answers at a coroner's inquest.
Lasonya Dutton, a 31-year-old Barkindji woman, had been missing for several days when her body was found in March 2022 in the small town of Wilcannia, north-west New South Wales, only four meters from her kitchen window.
Lasonya Dutton's uncle found her dead body in the backyard
Merle Dutton, Lasonya's uncle, was horrified to discover her rotting body in the home's backyard. When he went outside, he thought the dog was eating a kangaroo.
He said, "I didn't think anything of it until I got up a bit closer, then I realised it was a human being. I just ran out screaming and screaming."
Merle asserts that none of the family members could have provided details about Lasonya's final hours of life, giving police a formal statement to that effect from him and other relatives.
He claimed that after the horrifying discovery, he only spoke to the officers "when they asked him to leave" the house.
Mystery around Lasonya Dutton's death
Even though it has been almost 18 months since her tragic death, her bereaved family is still in the dark about how and why she died in a town of less than 750 residents, as reported by DailyMail.
Lasonya Dutton's death deemed 'suspicious'
Police had initially ruled Lasonya's death to be a suicide.
Still, a coroner later wrote in an autopsy report that "third-party involvement" could not be ruled out and that the circumstances surrounding Lasonya's death were suspicious.
NSW Coroner's Court has taken over the investigation from police
The NSW Coroner's Court has taken over the investigation from the police, and it is currently preparing for a coronial inquest.
According to the Adelaide Advertiser, the coroner reportedly asked the newspaper for documents and interviews as part of an inquest into Lasonya's death.
This is after a podcast series by The Advertiser recently examined Lasonya's mysterious death.
Authorties collect documents from the decased's family
The coroner had requested several documents, including the newspaper's interviews with Lasonya's father, Keith Dutton, Uncle Merle Dutton, who found his niece's decomposing body, and a neighbor who claims to have seen two people attempt to break into Lasonya's home the night before her body was discovered.
Daily Mail reports that the police carried out a "poor" investigation and "no hearing dates have been scheduled for this inquest at this time."
Lasonya's father Keith insists that his daughter did not commit suicide because she loved life and her two children. He received the autopsy report almost a year after Lasonya passed away.
He told Adelaide Advertiser last month, "I don't know how the police come to the conclusion that a full investigation has been done. I'm horrified, to be honest with you. My family knows, and half of Wilcannia knows… I'm ready to explode."
Given that the house served as a "drop-in center" for neighborhood residents, Keith Dutton wondered how his daughter could have lain in the backyard for so long without anyone noticing her.
Bloodied knife discovered at the neighborhood oval
A bloodied knife was allegedly discovered at the neighborhood oval, and there were rumors that people saw Lasonya being assaulted on the Friday night she was last seen alive.
Two days after Lasonya's last sighting, on the night before her body was discovered, neighbor Ingrid Bugmy recalled seeing two people outside Lasonya's residence acting as though they "wanted to get in."
Ms Bugmy told the newspaper, "I just thought it was just strange. It was really strange for me for someone to stand on that side of that window … and then the next day they find a body there."
When Keith reported the claims he had overheard to the police, he claimed that the officers "didn't want to hear it."
Keith disputes the assertions made by NSW Police that they investigated different avenues of inquiry as a member of the task force formed to look into the death of Lasonya and had frequently communicated with the family.