Missing pregnant woman, 26, found dead on beach by surfers ‘felt lonely’
A pregnant woman's body was found washed up on a beach several days after she disappeared, with a coroner saying "she must have felt alone".
Sonam Shelar, 26, was newly married and five months pregnant when she vanished from her home in Wellington in November 2018.
She met her husband Sagar on a popular Indian match-making site the year before, and the two quickly married and moved to New Zealand, where Sonam fell pregnant.
The couple weren't happy in their rental house and Sagar was looking for a new home as the live-in landlord wanted them out before the baby arrived.
A coroner's report described the marriage as "solemn" without any of the "usual newlywed happiness", the New Zealand Herald reports.
A flatmate described Sonam as rarely leaving the house, spending most of her time alone on her phone. She also began to suffer from intense morning sickness during the first trimester, but otherwise the pregnancy was going well.
On November 16 she went for an ultrasound in which she came to believe she was having a baby girl, which her husband noticed made her visibly upset and tearful as she had wanted a boy.
That evening the couple fought and Sonam said she wanted to go back to India.
The next morning Sagar left for work, observing that his wife didn't look up from her phone when he said goodbye.
He later tried to call her but became concerned when she didn't pick up, and left work to check on her but found the house empty. Soon afterwards he reported his wife missing to police.
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The coroner's report noted Sagar had willingly assisted the police and there was "no evidence" he was involved in her disappearance or death.
Their investigation revealed CCTV footage of Sonam boarding a bus and going to Island Bay, a beach some 40 minutes from their home.
Several witnesses say they saw her crying while walking to the water, but she refused help when they asked her what was wrong.
Days later on November 21 Sonam's body was discovered by a group of teen surfers on the shoreline several kilometres from Island Bay.
The coroner ruled Sonam had entered the water and drowned in what could be a suicide, although it could not be established for certain.
"These injuries are consistent with drowning in a turbulent sea," coroner Tracey Fitzgibbon said.
"On the basis of the available evidence, I am not satisfied Sonam Shelar's actions were self inflicted and amount to suicide."
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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