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Three Baptists killed by deadly mushrooms in Australia

by Donna Birrell

Prayers are being said for three members of a Baptist church in Australia, including two sisters, who have died reportedly after eating mushrooms at a dinner party.

The leader of Korumburra Baptist Church Ian Wilkinson who is 68 is still being treated in hospital.

His wife, Heather Wilkinson, and two others became ill after eating a meal at a home in the nearby town of Leongatha according to police.

The police released a statement saying they had been notified in relation to an incident where four people were taken to hospital with suspected poisoning on Sunday, July 30 :

“The four people, two male and two female, became ill after eating a meal at a private residence in Leongatha the previous day. It has been reported that wild mushrooms may have been the cause. Police were notified that a 66-year-old woman and a 70-year-old woman, both from Korumburra, passed away in hospital on August 4.

A third person, a 70-year-old man, passed away in hospital on August 5.

“At this time the exact circumstances are still being established and it is not known if the matter is suspicious.

“The investigation into the incident remains ongoing and police will liaise with the Department of Health in relation to the matter.”

Prayers were said for the deceased at a service at the church on Sunday.

Korumburra is described as a close-knit community with a high level of volunteerism. Local mayor Nathan Hersey described those involved as "exceptional people who had given generously to the local community in a meaningful way over many years.

"It's a really, really difficult time for so many people, not only the family and friends, but also the many people across a wide cross-section of the community, in Korumburra and the surrounds, who knew and loved them."

Councillor Jenni Keerie said the community was in shock at losing three such "strong, kind and generous" community members :

"We'll pull together as a community to get through this but we've lost a great store of kindness in Korumburra this weekend, with the loss of these much-loved and valued community contributors."

The families of the deceased have released the following statment :

"It is with profound sadness that we share the news of a tragic event that has deeply affected our families, friends, and church community. The past week has been a time of shock and grief for us all.

"They were parents, grandparents, siblings, children, and pillars of faith within our community. Their love, steadfast faith, and selfless service have left an indelible mark on our families, the Korumburra Baptist Church, the local community, and indeed, people around the globe.

"We find solace in God's love, knowing that they are now in the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ."

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