Inquest into the Suspected Death of Iveta MITCHELL

Delivered on:16 June 2023

Delivered at: Perth

Finding of: Deputy State Coroner Linton

Recommendations: N/A

Orders/Rules: N/A

Suppression Order: N/A

Summary: Iveta Mitchell disappeared overnight on 2 May 2010 to 3 May 2010. An order was made pursuant to s 23 of the Coroners Act that Ms Mitchell was suspected of being deceased, and her death was a reportable death, so an inquest into her death was mandatory. The Deputy State Coroner found that Iveta Mitchell is deceased and that she died as a result of homicide by a person or persons unknown.

Iveta was last seen by her husband, Mr Chad Mitchell, on the night of 2 May 2010. He later told police they had an argument and she left their house in Parmelia in the early hours of 3 May 2010 and never returned. Iveta was the devoted mother of three children and was also very close to her mother, who lived nearby. She was reported missing by her two older children and her mother on the evening of 4 May 2010 after they became aware she had disappeared. Her husband had not reported her missing, apparently because he believed he could not make the report until she had been missing for at least 48 hours. Despite a long and intensive police investigation, no sign of Iveta has ever been found since that day and she has not made contact with her family and friends since that date, which was very out of character. It was accepted by all of the witnesses that Iveta would never have willingly ceased all contact with her family, which supported the conclusion she died on or about 3 May 2010.

There had been problems in Iveta and Chad Mitchell’s marriage for at least a year leading up to these events, and she had told a number of family and friends that she intended to end the marriage and move into a new house with her children. The problems primarily revolved around financial problems and Chad’s drug use. Chad Mitchell told police they had agreed to have a talk about their marriage on the night of 2 May 2010. He admitted at the inquest that he used drugs that night, before their final discussion. The conversation became heated and their young son, Kyle, was woken up by the noise. Chad told police they both went into Kyle’s room and he became angry and told Iveta to leave. She left house and he believes she went into the park next door to have a cigarette. He fell asleep and when he woke the next morning, he became aware she had not returned. Iveta had not taken her bag, phone, car keys or any personal items other than her cigarettes and she had no way of accessing any money without them. Neighbours in the area were spoken to by police and a number provided evidence they had heard a loud argument between a man and woman that night, including the sound of a woman screaming. Kyle also told police in a child interview shortly after these events that he had heard his father shouting and his mother screaming that night. Chad denied ever hurting Iveta and said she had been the aggressor that night, although it had never become physical.

Police conducted a thorough forensic search of the Mitchell’s home, cars and surrounding areas on a number of occasions, but no evidence was ever found to suggest there had been a bloodletting event or an attempt to clean up any evidence of a fight. Nevertheless, the police investigation found other evidence to suggest Iveta was deceased and had met with foul play. They identified a number of suspects, all of whom were eliminated except her husband Chad Mitchell. There was insufficient evidence to charge any person in relation to her suspected death and subsequent cold case reviews have led to the same conclusion.

An inquest into the suspected death of Iveta was held before the Deputy State Coroner in November 2022. All of Iveta’s children attended for the duration of the inquest, as well as her mother and her husband, Chad Mitchell. The children and her husband all gave evidence at the inquest. Mr Mitchell had been given a potential adverse finding letter, but he did not seek to exercise his right to silence or request a certificate in relation to his evidence. He was given an opportunity to review the draft finding, prior to its publication in order to make submissions, if he wished to do so.

At the conclusion of the inquest, her Honour found beyond all reasonable doubt that Iveta was deceased on or about 3 May 2010. The cause of death could not be ascertained without her body being examined. Her Honour also found, to the requisite standard, that another person or persons was either directly or indirectly involved in her death. Further, her Honour also found that all other possible manners of death were excluded, other than homicide, either lawful or unlawful. As Iveta’s death occurred by homicide by person or persons unknown, her Honour reasonably suspected that an indictable offence has been committed and as such, exercised her powers to refer the matter to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions pursuant to s 27(5) of the Coroners Act.

Catch Words : Long Term Missing Person : Unascertained Cause :  Suspected Homicide

Last updated: 23-Jun-2023

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