10 May 2023

Pippa's death still a mystery as police work to solve case

| Matt Nicholls and Sarah Martin
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TRIBUTES are flowing for local woman Pippa Lanko after she was found dead in her neighbour’s yard in Marton last week.

Police have been investigating her sudden death and said that she likely died on the night of Sunday, February 5.

She wasn’t found until Monday afternoon when her neighbour was mowing the lawn.

Friends have described the 38-year-old as being the “life of the party” and “a bright light”.

Ms Lanko had an infectious, cheeky grin and unwavering kindness for everyone around her, they all said.

“She had a beautiful and generous heart, like her mum, and an exuberance to live life to the max,” friend Robyn Sheehan told Cape York Weekly.

“Pippa is a Cooktown darling and will be greatly missed.”

Aleisha Crosbie and Joshua Learoyd, close friends who lived near Ms Lanko on the outskirts of Cooktown, said she would be missed by many.

“She was just such a lovely soul in every way with a heart of gold; she was full of laughter, craziness and cheer,” they said.

“She loved my kids unconditionally, even if she was down, she always loved children.

“We will miss her cheeky grin and love of life.”

Pippa Lanko was an animal lover who looked out for wildlife.

Sage Parkes also remembered Ms Lanko as a true friend with a beautiful soul.

Kim Fowler penned a poem for her friend:

Beautiful Pippa, deep as a river, wide as the sea, her abundant random acts of kindness an inspiration to me.

Love, light and life shone through her beautiful big brown eyes, always in our hearts she will be.

And Lana Hayward remembered the bubbly local as “the light in our darkness”.

“She was very dear to me and always made me feel so special and loved,” Ms Hayward said.

“She was happy even when we knew she was sad and shared the light for everyone, especially those that needed it. Rest in peace, dear soul.”


EXPECT movement to be made on the police investigation this week, sources say.

On Friday, Detective Acting Inspector Jason Chetham said no stone was being unturned.

“It’s a sudden death and we don’t know the full circumstances,” he said in Cairns.

“We’ve got a lot of resources up there. Detectives and forensic staff have been up there for several days.

“At this point in time, we’re still asking for members of the public to come forward with information they may have that’s related to that young lady’s death.

“We’re unable to go into any details about how she died. We don’t have a cause of death at the moment. We’re still investigating that.”

He also confirmed that police had been called to a disturbance in the Marton area that same night, however were unable to locate the disturbance.

Detective Acting Inspector Jason Chetham addresses the media in Cairns.

“Police attended in the vicinity (on Sunday night) but not to that address and were unable to locate the disturbance,” Detective Acting Insp Chetham said.

“At the time we didn’t have the address of the house.”

Police were called due to “raised voices and an argument,” Detective Acting Insp Chetham said.

He said Ms Lanko’s partner had been cooperating with police and was admitted to hospital on Monday last week after he called an ambulance for a potential snake bite.

“He’s been speaking to us throughout this investigation and provided some very simple points of information to us,” Detective Acting Insp Chetham said.

Officers also requested a potential witness to return to Cooktown for questioning.

“We have identified some people we want to speak to about this inquiry, and some are out of Cooktown and we are making those arrangements as we speak,” Detective Acting Insp Chetham said on Friday.

“There is a person we want to speak to a potential witness who’s at sea.”

Anyone with information about Ms Lanko’s death is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

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