Croc suspected of killing dementia patient euthanized

A 1,200-pound saltwater crocodile is seen in a file photo taken at Wildlife Sydney Zoo in Sydney, Australia. 


The crocodile believed to have killed a dementia patient who wandered away from her nursing home in northeast Australia was no local, according to regional newspaper The Cairns Post.

Officials confirmed on Monday, according to the Post, that a 14-foot saltwater crocodile had been found in the Mowbray River, near Port Douglas in Queensland, where 79-year-old Anne Cameron disappeared last week.

Authorities said human remains found inside the crocodile, which was later euthanized, confirmed it had attacked Cameron.

Police first found human remains, along with Cameron's clothes and walking stick, near a creek bank almost a week ago, two days after she wandered from her a nursing home. Members of her family have said she likely became disoriented in the forest while going for one of her regular walks.

The Cairns Post on Tuesday cited an official with Australia's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection as saying a similar-sized croc had been spotted in the region in recent weeks, and that it was not known to locals.

"It may well be that it's just come in as an opportunistic (predator)," he told the newspaper.

Department operations manager for conservation Chris Artiemiew told the Post that the crocodile's suspicious behavior tipped those hunting for it off.

"The behavioural tendencies we picked up were very subtle, but basking during the day — that usually means that it had had a rather large feed — and also just boldness, being out during the day," he told the Cairns newspaper.

Crocodiles are territorial, and killer crocs are usually caught near the scene of attacks.
Government wildlife director Michael Joyce had said soon after Cameron's death that he was confident of catching the crocodile, and urged the public to report any "abnormal" crocodile behavior.