Mary Grant was out for a walk at 2 a.m. Wednesday, when Const. Bill Bellwood stopped to see whether she was OK.
Nine hours later, 67-year-old Grant’s body was found washed up among the driftwood on McNeill Bay beach. Police say she committed suicide.
In the early hours of Wednesday, an Oak Bay resident knocked at the door of the Oak Bay Police Department to report seeing an elderly woman walking on Victoria Avenue in her housecoat.
Bellwood went to investigate. He came across Grant, who was not wearing a housecoat, but a long coat.
“She was very lucid, very alert, very upbeat and happy,” said Deputy Chief Kent Thom. “When (Bellwood) spoke with her, she said she was just out for a walk and that’s a little unusual for a 67-year-old lady.
“She said she quite often went out for a walk during the night.”
Grant, a caregiver, was just a few blocks from her home on Granite Street. Bellwood felt convinced she didn’t need a ride home and wasn’t acting strangely. A search through police records revealed no history of mental illness or run-ins with police, Thom said.
Bellwood left the area.
At 11:15 a.m., two people walking along the beach at McNeill Bay spotted a body washed ashore. They called Oak Bay police.
Working with investigators from Saanich Police Department and a coroner, officers determined today (Thursday) the body was that of Grant.
“Of course we had a difficult time identifying who this person was,” Thom said. “It was after Bill found out that this female body had washed up on shore (that he mentioned) he had dealt with someone of same description (earlier that day).”
Foul play is not suspected, said acting Staff Sgt. Scott Treble of Saanich police.
“This is a suicide,” he said. “Every indication is this is a suicide.
“There were some documents later found at her home in Oak Bay the night of the investigation that consisted of some instructions. … Whatever the actual cause of her death was, she had already come to the determination that that was what she wanted to do.”
Saanich police are handling the case under a mutual aid agreement with Oak Bay police.
–with files from Kyle Slavin