Update – September 12, 2019
An autopsy has confirmed that Devora died from drowning. Her death is still under investigation. The jumper she was last seen wearing on the day of her death has not been recovered.
At around 7am on September 3, 2019, the peace and quiet of fishermen on a beautiful Spring morning at Terrigal Haven was disturbed.
They spotted a woman’s body, floating in the water around 100 metres from the boat ramp. The woman was clothed in jeans and a white t-shirt and she looked to have injuries to her neck.
Police were called and they converged quickly on the area surrounding the body, as well as on nearby Pacific Street at Wamberal.
The street was cordoned off and blocked by many police vehicles. Social media was abuzz with rumors about what was going on:
By the afternoon, the woman had been identified as Devora Howard (56). Devora was a well-known local, who was seen daily walking her Doberman puppy, Harvey, along the beaches. She lived with and cared for her elderly mother at a house on Pacific Street in Wamberal, very close to where her body was found. She was seen alive by neighbours on the night of Monday 2 September, talking on her mobile phone on her balcony.
More details began to emerge. Harvey had found by a personal trainer at around 6am on September 3 (around one hour before Devora’s body was found). He was in a distressed state. The personal trainer took Harvey to Devora’s house. When they arrived, Devora’s mother was alarmed and called police to report her missing. Everyone knew how devoted Devora was to her dog. This is likely the reason that they were able to identify the body was being Devora so quickly, once the body was found.
Police quickly set up three crime scenes. One at the Terrigal Haven, and two in Pacific Street. Devora’s house was examined for clues and so was the house two doors down from her. Devora had recently split from her husband of three years and local chatter is that she was romantically involved with her neighbour (who lived two doors down from her).
Residents on Pacific Street saw a man getting into a police car on the night of September 3, but no arrests have been made (or have been made public) at this stage.
Devora seemed to live a charmed life. She lived in a million dollar home, right on the beach and seemed to have plenty of friends and family. But her last social media post portrayed something darker:
At the time of writing this piece, Devora died only 24 hours ago. Some agencies are reporting that she entered the ocean at Wamberal at around 6am. Do they have CCTV footage? Did she really have neck injuries, and if so, were they caused post mortem or was she murdered? Did she take her own life or did someone else intervene? It seems unlikely (based on her being fully clothed) that her death was a swimming accident. It is also unlikely that she would have willingly left her puppy to fret.
The Skillion is a notorious suicide spot on the Central Coast. It backs directly onto the Terrigal Boat Ramp, where her body was found. Did she take her own life by jumping from the cliff and her body was washed up very quickly?
We will update this post with new info as it becomes available.