Missing mum feared to have fallen asleep in bin before it was taken to tip

A missing mum-of-three may have died after climbing into a bin, Australian police claim.

Natarn Auld is thought to have got into an industrial bin shortly before it was taken to a tip by a rubbish truck.

The 38-year-old disappeared from her home in Capalaba, south Brisbane, Australia, at 3am on December 14.

Ms Auld was known to look through charity shop bins, according to local media.

She was last seen telling a friend she was going to buy cigarette papers.

Her social media accounts have remained inactive and she has not used her phone or bank account since she vanished.

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Detectives investigating the case for the past two months tracked her mobile phone to Northgate, about 25km from her home, at the same time the area's rubbish collections take place.

Detectives are now examining whether Ms Auld may have fallen asleep in a rubbish bin before it was transported to the local tip, the Courier Mail reports.

In December, police released footage of her buying food and coffee at a BP service station in Capalaba at 11.50pm the day before her disappearance.

CCTV captured Ms Auld walking alone along Redland Bay Road, Capalaba, at 3:30am on the night she went missing.

Investigators found her phone remained in the Capalaba area for the next 40 minutes, before tracking to north Brisbane.

The extensive investigation has not turned up any other sightings of Ms Auld on CCTV, suggesting her phone was still with her.

Officers teamed up with volunteers from the State Emergency Service (SES) to search bushland in an industrial site at Nudgee, west of the Gateway Motorway, while divers scoured Nudgee Creek, but no trace of her was found.

Detective Inspector Steve Hollands said in January: "The family are really distraught, obviously they're fearing the worst.

"It's been over three weeks now and we still haven't had any contact from the missing person.

"There's been no use of her phone, her bank accounts, or her social media sites, so as the passage of time has gone on, our expectation of finding her alive is somewhat lessened.

"We do fear the worst has happened to her."

A report is being prepared for the coroner.

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