Coronial inquest into missing four from Nannup | Day 2

A witness at the second day of the coronial inquest looking into the disappearance of Chantelle and Leela McDougal, Antonio Popic and Gary Felton was told that the latter had committed suicide before their disappearance.

Nannup resident Warren Sunkar became aware through an internet friend based in the US that Mr Felton had committed suicide. He phoned Ms McDougall to see if she was okay.

Ms McDougall replied, ‘is that what they are saying.’

“I thought that was weird,” Mr Sunkar said.

He asked Ms McDougall if she needed anything and was told that she was fine and that police were at the house.

“My first impression was that he topped himself on the property somewhere, it was only later that I heard someone took off on a train. I got confused.

“I thought Mr Felton was dead. About four weeks later I saw on the news they were missing. I thought it was weird.”

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Mr Sunkar believes they may have shied away from society, after leaving Nannup, because of all the media attention the case was given just after their disappearance.

“The media were ferocious and hardcore,” he said.

He also mentioned that Ms McDougall’s ex partner had been in Nannup and had threatened to kill them. He was later escorted out of town after a run-in with police.

Nannup resident Elanor McKie, a friend of Ms McDougall through playgroup, told the inquest that she had seen Mr Felton belittling Ms McDougall and saw nothing in their relationship which connected them as a couple.

Ms McKie said she did not think the pair acted like a couple and that Mr Felton was more like an authoritative figure.

“I got the feeling Ms McDougall was subservient to Mr Felton, her role was to look after Leela she loved her so much,” she said.

“I think he had brainwashed her. You could tell she would do whatever he said."

During the inquest, Ms McKie said when Ms McDougall talked about her roommate Mr Popic in the last six months before the disappearance she would light up.

Ms McKie said the way Ms McDougall talked about Mr Popic was completely different to how she would talk about her partner Mr Felton.

Ms McKie did not believe that any of the three adults “had the guts” to go through with a murder or suicide pact but mentioned that they felt like they did not belong to society and wanted to leave.

​More to come.

This story Friend was told Felton had died | Coronial inquest first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.