Body on beach: ‘We’re doing a headcount’
AN Indian women's community leader in southern Sydney is doing "a headcount" of her group as police try to identify the woman of "subcontinental appearance" whose body washed up on a Sydney beach.
Her body and clothing were wet, so she may have been in the water for several hours before the petite young woman was found dead on North Cronulla Beach.
Police say the slim, 155cm to 160cm tall and fully clothed woman with long dark hair discovered on Wednesday morning is of Indian or subcontinental appearance.
But Indian Mums Sydney South administrator Shweta Doke told news.com.au that only three or four families of Indian origin lived in Cronulla.
"It's scary," Ms Doke said "because if anyone was missing or not at home it could be them.
"I've shared the information with ... 110 ladies average, and I said we'll do a headcount.
"But some people are away and some aren't active [on Facebook].
"There's one lady who does boot camp on that beach, but I've checked and it's all good, she's fine.
"From the [police description of the body] it could also be someone from Bangladesh, Pakistan - or Fiji."
Ms Doke said she would do anything to help her local Indian Australian community, which was a tiny proportion of the wider group of subcontinental residents in Australia
Sydney's Indian community is concentrated away from the coast in Harris Park and at Strathfield, Homebush, Parramatta, and in Artarmon, St Leonards and Chatswood.
Aged between around 16 and 30 years old, the mystery female was wearing a long-sleeve black turtleneck jumper, maroon pants and black sneakers with white soles.
Police are awaiting results of an autopsy to establish her cause of death, but believe she was in the water for just hours, not days before her discovery in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Police are urging anyone who may be able to help identify the woman or with any information about her to come forward as soon as possible.
An injury or mark found on the body was not the cause of death, police said.
''The body was wet. Tidal information shows it was high tide during the night so there is a possibility that she was in the water,'' Detective Chief Inspector Terry O'Neill said.
''We had Polair do a fly over of the ocean to see if there was any debris in the water to make sure there wasn't a boat or people in the water."
Indian Link newspaper editor Ragna told news.com.au that 400,000 Indian people lived in Australia and with Victoria had slightly more than NSW.
It is estimated that more than 300,000 Sydneysiders were either born in India or have a parent born in India.
Chief Inspector O'Neill said police were keeping an open mind as to the cause of death and the circumstances in which the body was found.
"We have no one who actually saw the lady but we are in the infancy and we will be out tonight canvassing that area again of Prince Street and surrounding areas around the beachfront," he said.
The woman may have been in the Cronulla or Dunningham Park area in the afternoon, early evening or into the late evening of Tuesday.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.