The discovery of shotgun shells at the last known location of a missing grandmother has added to the mystery surrounding her disappearance.
Colleen South’s frantic family believe foul play is involved in the 58-year-old’s disappearance.
She was last seen alive at Renown Park, in Adelaide’s inner north, on July 1 about 3.30pm, driving off in her silver Hyundai Getz hatchback.
A relative of Ms South claims her uncle found ‘spent shotgun shells at the scene’, but detectives ‘have not followed up on this, nor reported it’.
While ‘out of character’, Victoria Police are not treating the grandmother’s disappearance as suspicious.
Veronica South (pictured right with her mum Colleen) insists her mother’s disappearance is out of character and should be treated as suspicious
Actress Farah Mak (pictured) has urged police to treat her aunt’s disappearance as suspicious
Medication found by Veronica South and her friends in the area where her mother disappeared
Ms South’s niece, Australian actress Farah Mak, hit social media to slam Victoria Police over allegations it had bungled the investigation.
‘My cousin found footprints and a lit out fire nearby – @victoriapolice said there was no footprints found,’ she wrote.
‘Photos taken by @victoriapolice show that there are tyre trucks of a vehicle pulling right up next to my Aunty’s personal belongings where she would have been sitting – no crime scene investigation. My cousin and her friends were told “this could’ve been from anything”.’
Victoria Police issued a statement on Monday afternoon dismissing the family’s claims that Ms South may have become a victim of a crime.
It also hit back at claims a proper investigation had not been conducted.
‘Victoria Police commenced a comprehensive search of dense bushland in the surrounding area conducting Air Wing and Drone searches along with Mounted Branch, Canine Unit, officers on foot and in vehicles along with SES,’ the statement read.
‘Local farmers were also asked to check buildings and sheds on their properties.’
Detectives claim the only fears they hold for Ms South stem from a known medical condition and her ‘disappearance was out of character’.
Photos taken from the scene indicate Ms South had been taking Aripiprazole – a drug primarily used in the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Her damaged car and belongings were discovered in Wycheproof, northern Victoria, including her journal which contained a handwritten note with the words ‘help me please’.
It’s been almost three weeks since Colleen South (pictured) was last seen by loved ones
A concerning note asking for help was found inside Ms South’s journal near her abandoned car
‘Our hope is that we get action and outcome from Victoria Police by treating this as a crime and investigating accordingly to find Colleen ASAP,’ Ms South’s niece Farah Mak (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia
Ms South’s daughter Veronica told Daily Mail Australia she had made the five-and-a-half hour trip from Adelaide at least three times in the last week to conduct her own searches in Wycheproof.
She believes her mother’s disappearance is suspicious because her belongings were left behind with the car door locked.
‘Also … there’s no trace of my mum, or footprints where she has walked, and no scent detected from the dogs.
‘Also my mum didn’t go to the farmers for help. The house is right next door to where her car was found, so she would have definitely gone there for help but there has been no record of anyone seeing her which I think is odd.’
A Facebook page called Bring Colleen Home set up by Ms South’s family has grown to more than 500 members.
Her daughter took to Facebook on Sunday night to provide an update on her harrowing ordeal.
‘It’s been two weeks since you’ve been missing Mum,’ Veronica wrote.
Ms South was last seen by a witness in her Hyundai Getz (pictured) on July 3. The car was found abandoned an hour later
Ms South’s personal items, including bags and keys, were found 20 metres from her car
‘Although, it feels like a really long time but I’m just getting started with this search. Spoke to locals today and have been meeting with farmers, there was no luck of getting any new evidence today.
‘I am praying we find you soon and everyday feels like I’m getting a step closer to finding you. It hasn’t been easy. I am missing you every day.
‘Tomorrow we may have an update from the police of where to go with the search from here. We are thinking positive and hopefully we will get a positive outcome.’
CCTV footage captured Ms South visiting a Liquorland at St Agnes at about 11.50am on July 2, with police believing she then made her way to rural northern Victoria.
The last reported sighting was made the following day, , when a witness spotted her behind the wheel of her Hyundai Getz in Ninyeunook, 267km north of Melbourne.
Around an hour later, a farmer noticed Ms South’s car abandoned parked under a tree off the side of Mackies Road, 26km away in Bunguluke.
Two days later, the farmer called police after realising the car had crashed into a ditch and sustained damage, with airbags deployed.
Ms South’s belongings were found about 20 metres from the car, including her handbag, purse, keys and a journal.
On Saturday, the group found Ms South’s essential medication, downtrodden grass, a pen, footprints and a recently lit campfire.
Ms South is described as 154cm tall with a heavy build, green eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, black and white striped shirt.
Anyone who sees Colleen or has any information is urged to contact police.
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