By Melissa Cunningham – The Age
An elderly woman who died in suspicious circumstances inside her home in Sydenham could have been dead for up to a week before her body was found, homicide squad detectives say.
The woman has been identified as 77-year-old Vicki Ramadan.
A handyman made the grisly discovery after coming to repair Ms Ramadan’s fence at her Marlborough Way home just before 10am.
Homicide Squad Detective Sergeant Graham Ross confirmed to reporters at the scene on Sunday that Ms Ramadan’s body was found with injuries, but he declined to speculate on the nature of those injuries.
He also confirmed Ms Ramadan had made multiple reports to police, including her house being burgled, in the lead-up to her death.
“The circumstances of her death are suspicious,” Detective Sergeant Ross said.
“There is some injuries to the lady … and there is a post-mortem underway as we speak and we won’t know the exact cause of death until that post-mortem is completed.”
Ms Ramadan was last seen alive on March 29 when she was dropped home by a neighbour after she was found wandering the street in a disorientated state.
He urged anyone in the public who had seen Ms Ramadan between March 29 and April 6 to contact police.
“It’s vital we narrow down the movements of this lady … a lot of neighbours in this area know Vicki as she has been in the area for quite some time,” he said.
“We are appealing to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious at the address during that period of time … it’s most important they contact us and provide that information.”
Ms Ramadan was a widow who lived alone and neighbours said she had recently spoken of being afraid of a group of squatters who were living in a house across the road from her home.
Detective Sergeant Ross confirmed this was a line of inquiry police were examining.
Police spent much of Saturday inspecting an abandoned property across the road from Ms Ramadan’s house which is located at the end of a cul-de-sac.
“It’s a terrifying ordeal for the neighbours in this area and they’re all shocked in relation to the discovery of the lady’s body and it becoming subject of a homicide investigation,” Detective Sergeant Graham Ross said.
“I’m also asking the public if they find anything in their gardens that’s out of character or not owned by them to come forward and contact police.”
Detective Sergeant Ross said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether it was a targeted attack.
“There are family members who are obviously shocked and upset about the notification of their loved one’s death,” he said.
Neighbours said on Saturday Ms Ramadan, who had lived in the orange brick house for several decades, had been burgled a few weeks ago and that there had been several recent burglaries in the area.
In once incident, Ms Ramadan is believed to have woken to find intruders inside her home.
She regularly used public transport in Sydenham and surrounding suburbs including buses and taxis.
“It’s a bit confronting, to think that it’s around here,” one neighbour told Nine News.
“She was just a lovely lady that would sit on her porch and say hello every morning. She loved dogs and kids – they put a smile on her face.
Any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppers.com.au
With Rachel Wells, Joe Hinchliffe and Sam Cucchiara