Written by Isolde Everett, CNN
Unexpected. That’s how police are describing the death of a 60-year-old woman, whose remains were found buried in the family garden last week.
The woman’s nephew, Kenard Ball, and his son, Justin Ball, reported the discovery to police on May 7, according to a statement issued by the Queensland Police on May 13. A day earlier, Justin called his aunt’s home address to announce his grandmother was deceased.
“The next day my sister and I, together with Justin, went to the house and were able to make contact with the elderly woman who was now deceased. She was unaware of who Justin and my sister were. He did not speak about his grandmother and did not tell us how she died,” Ball said in a statement.
A rare human remains find: DNA detected
The sister of Catherine Cranston , the woman found dead last week, shared the relative’s address with Justin Ball, according to a statement released by police.
The woman’s body was discovered during routine renovations to the nearby Stirling Rise estate in Darling Downs, according to a report in the Brisbane Times . Detectives took samples from her body that were subsequently confirmed by laboratory DNA tests as those of Cranston.
Police will investigate whether her death was a homicide after a post-mortem examination is completed. They are also investigating whether Justin and Kenard Ball are the only people who had contact with her.
Catherine Cranston’s nephew (C) and son (L) on May 7. Credit: Queensland Police Service
Investigators are “combing through her phone records and social media accounts to establish a picture of her day-to-day activities and her relationships,” according to the statement.
Ball explained that his grandmother “had developed dementia in the last two years of her life and relied on her family for support.”
“She had been asking Justin and myself to keep an eye on her for the last couple of years because she would forget where she lived. My mother started to collect disability payments for a wheelchair which had become increasingly cumbersome to operate and maintain over time,” Ball said.
Volunteers search the family property for evidence about the possible death of Catherine Cranston. Credit: Peter Bader
“Justin and I tried to work with her to sort her affairs out but it was difficult when we could not understand her medical condition and her responses to our questions,” he said.
“Over the course of the last year I have observed some signs of an upset stomach and vomiting. I also saw a black mark on the wall of the bathroom a couple of months ago that was due to a fall. I was aware that Catherine used the bathroom a lot but I was not aware that she could even swim. She lived in a small area where there is only one other person for 20 to 25 minutes a day,” he said.
Catherine Cranston: Soul-searching mother
Ball shared that his family has since reported their grandmother to the community health team.