The grieving family of a young Indigenous mother of two whose decomposing body was eaten by a dog in the family’s backyard may finally get answers through a coroner’s inquest as their hard-fought fight for justice continues.
Barkindji woman Lasonya Dutton, 31, was missing for several days when her body was discovered just four meters from the kitchen window of her home in the remote town of Wilcannia in northwest New South Wales in March 2022.
Lasonya’s uncle Merle Dutton was horrified when he found his mother’s decomposing body in the family’s backyard.
When he went outside, he initially thought the dog was eating a kangaroo.
“I didn’t think anything of it until I got a little closer, then I realized it was a human.” “I just ran out screaming and screaming,” he said.
Merle claims that police never received a formal statement from him or other family members that could have provided information about Lasonya’s last days alive.
He claimed the only time he spoke to officers was “when they asked him to leave the house following the grim discovery.”
Her tragic death shocked the small town of fewer than 750 people, but nearly 18 months later, her distraught family doesn’t know how or why she died.
Police ruled Lasonya’s death a suicide before a medical examiner noted in an autopsy report that “third-party involvement” could not be ruled out and deemed the circumstances of Lasonya’s death suspicious.
The NSW Coroner’s Court has since taken over the investigation from the police and is now working on a coroner’s inquest.
This comes after the Advertiser recently addressed Lasonya’s unexplained death as part of a podcast series.
Lasonya’s grieving family is firmly convinced that the mother of two did not take her own life. Source: NITV
Documents requested by the coroner include the publication’s interviews with Lasonya’s father Keith Dutton, uncle Merle Dutton, who discovered his niece’s decomposing body, and a neighbor who claims she saw the night before her body was found, how two people tried to break into Lasonya’s house.
“There are currently no hearing dates scheduled for this investigation,” a spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia
“Coronial inquests are ongoing.”
The family claims Lasonya’s death was “poorly investigated” by police and key witnesses who could have provided information were not interviewed.
Keith Dutton remains determined to get justice and answers for his daughter.
Mr Dutton, who received the autopsy report almost a year after Lasonya’s death, insists his daughter did not commit suicide because she loved life as much as her two children.
Even 18 months after Lasonya Dutton’s body was found, many questions remain unanswered
“I don’t know how the police come to the conclusion that a full investigation was carried out,” he said Adelaide Advertiser Last month.
“I’m horrified, to be honest. My family knows it, and half of Wilcannia knows it… I’m ready to explode.’
Wilcannia Lasonya Dutton was found dead in her family’s backyard in March 2022
Mr Dutton is baffled at how his daughter could lie in the backyard for so long without her family seeing her, especially when the house was a focal point for locals.
There were also rumors that people saw Lasonya being attacked on Friday evening, when she was last seen, and that a bloody knife was found at the local oval.
Neighbor Ingrid Bugmy recalled seeing two people who looked like they were trying to get into Lasonya’s house the night before her body was found, two days after she was last seen
“I just thought it was strange.” “It was really strange to me that someone was standing on this side of that window … and then the next day they found a body there,” Ms Bugmy told the newspaper.
Mr Dutton went to the police with the allegations he had heard, but the alleged officers “didn’t want to hear them”.
NSW Police insist they investigated various lines of inquiry as part of the task force set up to investigate Lasonya’s death and engaged with the family on multiple occasions during the investigation, a claim Keith refutes.
If you or someone who knows needs assistance, contact 13Yarn (13 92 76) or Lifeline on 131 114.
The NSW Coroners Court is currently investigating the tragic death of Lasonya Dutton and is working on an inquest to find answers for her grieving family