Elderly mother and daughters found dead in 'suicide pact'

AN elderly woman and her two middle-aged daughters died in a tragic suicide pact at one of the Gold Coast's most luxurious addresses yesterday.

At Ephraim Island, a gated community overlooking million-dollar yachts and the sparkling Gold Coast Broadwater, the bodies of 78-year-old Margaret Cummins and her daughters Wynette and Heather, in their 50s, were found about 3.30pm.

Heather's partner was the first to raise the alarm.

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Ephraim Island is one of the Gold Coast's most luxurious addresses, an exclusive community with million-dollar views of million-dollar yachts and a short sail away from Sovereign Islands, where homes cost up to ten times that much and billionaires like Clive Palmer call home. Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Procter, the officer in charge of Coomera Investigation Branch, said it was a sad ending to the lives of the three women.

"It is what appears to be an apparent suicide pact," he said. "There are no suspicious circumstances, there are no offenders outstanding and no one in the community needs to feel worried about their safety.

A map showing Ephraim Island, where the bodies of three women were discovered.
A map showing Ephraim Island, where the bodies of three women were discovered.

"It's an isolated incident."

He said the partner who found the bodies was understandably upset, but not completely surprised by the tragic scene he discovered.

"He is pretty shaken," he said. "He wasn't aware that this was culminating today, but he wasn't surprised that it has happened."

The deaths shocked and shattered residents of the up-market apartment complex.

One woman resident told The Courier-Mail she feared the worst after hearing the news and trying in vain to contact one of the daughters, with whom she socialised.


"It's a horrible feeling," she said. "I saw all the police and ambulances and tried to call Heather but there was no answer. I immediately thought, 'oh God, I hope it's not them."

The woman said the elderly mother lived with and cared for Wynette, who was disabled, in a ground floor unit they owned, while battling her own health problems.

The other daughter, Heather, and her partner had recently bought a unit in the neighbouring building.

Wynette recently underwent brain surgery.

Next of kin have been advised.