An inquest has found Kellie-Anne Levitski, who vanished from her family’s property on Mount Darragh, is deceased.
Deputy State Coroner Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan handed down her findings at Bega Court House on Friday, July 27, after a four-day inquest that called upon police, witnesses and members of the Levitski family to give evidence on the case.
When Ms Levitski was 38, she disappeared from her father’s property on Mount Darragh Rd on the night of Sunday, March 30, 2014.
Magistrate O’Sullivan said that night, Ms Levitski had told her father she was going to read a book or listen to music in her caravan. The next morning, when her father approached her caravan he found she was not there and her disappearance was reported to the police.
Later on March 31, police searched the caravan and found Ms Levitski’s phone, medication, wallet, bank cards and cigarettes, and over the next year they conducted multiple searches in the Mount Darragh area but did not find any evidence of where she had gone.
Before the inquest began, police conducted “signs of life checks”, which showed she had not accessed her bank accounts, Medicare or any other government service. Three reported sightings of her by witnesses could not be confirmed.
Magistrate O’Sullivan said as a teenager Ms Levitski wanted to become a pilot and began taking lessons, but was unable to finish them. In her late teens the missing woman began experimenting with drugs, developed mental health problems and since about 1998 had had an “ongoing interaction” with mental health services.
The magistrate said before Ms Levitski went missing, she had “frequent admissions to hospitals” and was taking a number of medications due to “serious physical and mental ill health”. She had relied on the support of her family and friends to function in the community and without this support it was “very unlikely that Kellie would have been able to survive for more than days or perhaps weeks”.
Magistrate O’Sullivan said in order to find a person is deceased, the court needs “cogent, clear and exact evidence”.
“The most compelling evidence is perhaps that of an absence of evidence rather than anything else,” she said.
She noted Ms Levitski had not been seen by family or friends since the day she went missing.
“Taking into account all of the evidence, I conclude on the balance of probabilities that Kellie is deceased,” Magistrate O’Sullivan said.
She offered her “heartfelt condolences” to Ms Levitski’s family, who had sat through each day of the inquest.
“The uncertainty associated with the circumstances in which Kellie went missing has no doubt caused them a great deal of sorrow and anguish,” she said.
“I hope that in the future, some evidence can be gathered to provide them with some information regarding what happened to her.”
After the magistrate read her findings, Ms Levitski’s father John Levitski asked to say a few words to the court room.
He said he wanted to say a prayer for his daughter and hoped “she is with Jesus”.
“I hope everybody here finds love in their heart and moves on, there’s nothing else you can do,” Mr Levitski said.
“I’d like to thank everybody here for such a professional job.”
He thanked the Bega police for their work on the case and finished by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.