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Operation Lucy - Murder inquiry breakthrough

Operation Lucy - Murder inquiry breakthrough


Police say today's discovery of two backpacks belonging to German tourist Ms. Birgit Brauer, is a significant break-through in the continuing investigation into her murder.

The Officer in Charge of Operation Lucy, Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward, says the two packs were found by police, concealed in an area of bush and covered by a sleeping bag, on the shores of Lake Rotokare in South Taranaki.

Mr Coward says Police know the two packs belong to Ms Brauer, because a letter addressed to her, was found nearby.

"The two bags will now be subject to an immediate forensic examination," he said.

A police search and rescue team, as well as the dive squad went to the area at Lake Rotokare this morning and soon after their arrival, located the two packs on the ground, near the edge of the lake. A further search of the lake will be held tomorrow.

Police were at Lake Rotokare as a result of information from the public that a vehicle of interest had been sighted parked at the Lake reserve on Friday 23 September 2005.

"Until we have something definite that links this vehicle, a Toyota Hilux, to the murder, we will continue to follow up on the sizeable amount of detailed information that is coming in hourly from the public," said Mr Coward.

"This vehicle certainly fits the description of the one we are looking for."

Mr Coward said, "contrary to some media reports, police are avidly seeking the male person who we strongly believe stole the vehicle, but as yet he's not been spoken to."

"Today's finding confirms to Police that the killer of Ms Brauer was in the South Taranaki area, and I am asking the public to please contact the enquiry team with any information of any kind. The local public support to the Police has been outstanding."

We are continuing our appeal to the public for information on a Toyota Hilux, two door, mid to late 80's, four wheel drive that would have been in the rural areas of Eltham, Hawera, Stratford or South Taranaki, on or about Friday 23 September 2005."

"If anyone has seen this vehicle particularly in these areas at or around this date, or from 20-24 September 2005, we will be very interested to hear."

Anyone with any information please contact New Plymouth Police on [06] 759-5500 OR phone 0800 CRIMESTOP [0800 27-46-37]

The New Plymouth police web site is...www.newplymouth.police.govt.nz.

ENDS

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