Mary Grant died as a result of suicide, said B.C. Coroner Stan Lajoie, in a report released to the Oak Bay News this week.
Grant spoke to Oak Bay Police Const. Bill Bellwood just hours before the 67-year-old woman’s body was discovered on McNeill Bay Beach March 2.
Grant first came to the attention of Oak Bay Police when a resident reported an elderly woman walking on Victoria Avenue in her housecoat around 2 a.m.
Bellwood found Grant, who was wearing a long coat, and spoke to her. “She said she quite often went out for a walk during the night,” said Deputy Chief Kent Thom at the time.
Bellwood was convinced Grant 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.
The Oak Bay resident’s lifeless body was discovered at 11:15 a.m. by two people walking along the beach.
The cause of death is listed as drowning by walking into the ocean. The report also listed severe osteoarthritis as a significant condition contributing to her death.
“Often, when the case is reported, we go to the scene and examine it and speak to the next of kin. If we haven’t spoken to family, the first call is to the family physician. In Mary Grant’s case, her medical history, where she was found, her emotional well being would all factor in,” said Vancouver Island Regional Coroner Matt Brown.
“The coroner is involved in all sudden and unexpected deaths; by law they are required to be reported,” said Brown.
The coroner is responsible for determining the identity of the deceased, how, when, where and by what means they died. It is a fact-finding, rather than fault-finding agency.