THE death of 83-year-old Valania Danatabua has baffled villagers of Namulomulo in Bua as her disappearance remains a mystery.
Her niece Siteri Dirasiga said Valania went to church on Thursday evening to light the lamp in the church.
"She left about 6pm and never returned home even after the church service at about 8pm," Ms Dirasiga said.
"Her death remains a mystery and we are still trying to accept her death.
"She had gone to visit an aunt of mine after church, had dinner there and before 9pm, she told my aunt that she had to leave."
Ms Dirasiga said after 10pm, Nau Vala, as she was commonly known, appeared again at the porch of her aunt's house.
"She spoke to my uncle and some other men who were drinking grog on the porch. She was asking them whether they were still drinking grog and my uncle told her to go inside the house and change her clothes because they were wet.
"But she refused even when my aunt came and told her to go inside the house and change her clothes.
"She left and told my aunt that she was returning home but she never came back home."
Ms Dirasiga said Valania's family thought she was still at her aunt's home on Friday morning.
"After breakfast, a woman came around to ask for her so they could go and scrape coconuts and only then we realised she was missing.
"So we searched everywhere and reported her missing to the police on Friday afternoon.
"On Sunday, the men decided to go search for her by the seaside and they found her body floating among mangrove trees."
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the woman was found floating in a creek on Sunday.
"The deceased was reported missing on Friday where a search party was conducted by police with the help of Namulomulo villagers.
"The search boundary was further extended and the team unfortunately found the deceased floating in a creek about eight kilometres away at Wainikumi in Raviravi, Bua."
Ms Dirasiga described Valania as a hardworking woman who was known for beating the younger generation in being able to scrape 50 coconuts within two to three hours, despite her old age.
The woman would be laid to rest today.