Police call for witnesses after body found in bush

Flowers in memory of  Rachel Johnston, 39, whose body was found along Ballina Road. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Flowers in memory of Rachel Johnston, 39, whose body was found along Ballina Road. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

A WOMAN whose body was found in bush on a suburban block in Goonellabah in November could have died five days before her remains were discovered.

Police are re-appealing for witnesses who may have seen 39-year-old Rachel Johnston walking along Ballina Rd at Goonellabah in the early hours of Wednesday November 4.

When her body was found on November 9, police were investigating reports that Ms Johnston, who was originally from Port Macquarie, was missing.

About 8.30pm on November 9, police received information that Ms Johnston was last seen on Ballina Rd, near Kadina St and officers attended the location.

A search by police found Ms Johnston's body in bushland at the rear of Marshall Fittler's property, which adjoins Ballina Rd, just north of the Kadina St pedestrian footbridge.

When the Northern Star contacted Mr Fittler the day after the body was discovered, he was unaware of the gruesome find police made on his property.

The day after Ms Johnston's body was found, acting Inspector Russell Ewing said her death was not being treated as suspicious and there were no obvious signs of the cause of her death.

Ms Johnston's body was sent to Newcastle for a coroner to conduct an autopsy to try to determine the cause of her death.

"While investigators are still awaiting the final results of the post mortem examination, interim results indicate her death is not suspicious," police said in a statement yesterday.

"Police have been speaking with friends and relatives of the woman as part of their investigation."

Anyone who has any information about Ms Johnston or may have seen her is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Topics:  crimestoppers editors picks

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