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Body of Missing SoCal Woman Found Up a Tree in Australia

Melissa Joy Dietzel
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A woman's body found up a tree in Australia has been identified as 22-year-old Melissa Joy Dietzel of Redlands. Local investigators in Sydney are treating the death as a suicide, though they do not know exactly how the body of the young woman, in Australia working as a nanny, came to be up the tree.A tree surgeon discovered Dietzel's decomposing remains, having been sent to look into the limbs when residents complained of a foul odor, reports the Huffington Post UK.

Dietzel had been in Australia since the fall, but had been dismissed from her post as a live-in nanny. She was on a six-month work visa, and while her parents had not heard from her since late November, they held out hope she would come home when her visa expired.

Known to her family as "Mima," and to her friends by her middle name, Joy, Dietzel was one of ten children born to a Mormon family in Redlands, elaborates the Sydney Morning Herald. She attended Brigham Young University in Utah, but upon her return home one year, began exhibiting signs of bipolar disorder. Dietzel's older brother, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder, committed suicide by hanging himself in 2009 when he was 24.

"The people she was working for said she was exhibiting bizarre behavior and she was fired," Dietzel's mother notes, reports The Daily News. "She hanged herself, which was an almost identical thing to what her older brother did," added her mother.

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Investigators say Dietzel's body was in the tree at least three weeks.

"Her mother said the family plans to cremate her and have her ashes sent back to Redlands - with her brother Nicholas, a sculptor - making her urn," notes the Herald.