Sixteen days after a frail, elderly woman was left in distress outside a Sunshine Coast hospital police say they are no closer to finding out who she is.
Officers hope a ring the woman was wearing, and new images of her in a “healthier” state will help her be identified and family members come forward.
Acting Inspector Matt Robertson said Queensland Police had been looking into various missing persons cases, but suggestions put forward to date had not matched.
The woman, believed to be between 80 and 90, was dropped outside the Nambour Hospital on Sunday September 6, by a man who claims he found her in the Mooloolah Valley, more than 20 kilometers away, and wanted to take her to safety.
Police said the man indicated he was not the woman’s relative, friend or carer, and they had no reason to question “that he’s not just a good Samaritan”.
“He came in, he stated exactly what occurred and at this stage the evidence suggests what he said occurred,” Acting Inspector Robertson said. “He does believe he might have seen her in the area before.”
The elderly woman has since been transported to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital where she is receiving ongoing care and tests.
Police initially said she was non-verbal, but she has since begun communicating “somewhat”, since her health has improved.
However, Acting Inspector Robertson said she could not tell police what her name was or where she’s from.
“She’s much improved, she’s improving daily and getting her strength back. But she was frail and still is,” he said.
He said as her condition was improving “we’re getting better communication channels with her. Health authorities have been taking care of her. We’re just making sure her health and safety are professionally managed.”
Acting Inspector Robertson said police did not have the authority to DNA test against a person’s will.
“Obviously, we’re making inquiries and doing everything we can. It is an incredibly challenging situation.”
He said a gold ring the woman was wearing might be a clue to her identity as police released pictures of the piece of jewelry today.
Acting Inspector Robertston said police did not believe the woman was a victim of elder abuse.
“Obviously, there might be more of a story to tell when she is reunited, and the family can speak to us. The missing piece to the puzzle”.
Since news of the woman being left alone at the hospital first circulated, police have been inundated with leads relating to possible missing persons.
Acting Inspector Robertson said police had “conducted a number of inquiries and a lot of names have been taken off the table”.
Officers have door-knocked in the Mooloolah Valley area, visiting aged care facilities, the local CWA, RSLs, local shopping centers and medical clinics.
“It just takes one person who knows a person to make a phone call,” Acting Inspector Robertson said.
Anyone with information about the woman is urged to contact police immediately.