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Lengthy Forensic Scene Examinations Likely

Lengthy Forensic Scene Examinations Likely
New Zealand Police National News Release
5:42pm 13 July 2006

It could be several weeks before investigators complete detailed scene examinations in the Operation Red Rocks homicide inquiry.

Detective Inspector Mike Arnerich, investigation head, said last night's arrest of a man for the murder of 62-year-old Karori man Tony Stanlake is only the beginning of an ever-widening inquiry.

A 21-year-old man appeared in the Wellington District Court today charged with murder and has been remanded until 29 September.

"We're quite certain more people are involved in Tony's death. With the public's help we need to identify these people and find them."

Police executed 10 search warrants yesterday at addresses around the Wellington and Hutt Valley area, looking for items of interest to the inquiry. These items include trying to find Mr Stanlake's hands, clothing he was wearing on his upper body at the time of his death, and any weapons used to batter his head and inflict the horrific injuries to his neck and hands.

"Scene examinations at some of these places, including Tony's house and the Happy Valley Landfill are likely to take days if not weeks," Detective Inspector Arnerich said. "The scope of this investigation is increasing all the time and we need to be absolutely thorough and take our time with every scene we visit."

Wellington District's Serious Crash Unit has been brought in today to help forensically map key interest areas at the Owhiro Bay Beach, taking in points where police believe the body was dumped in the water and where it came ashore.

The Specialist Search Group, detectives and police divers are hoping to finish this scene examination today. At the nearby Happy Valley Landfill, police are searching through recently dumped refuse to find evidence which might help advance the investigation.

"The proximity to Owhiro Bay where Tony's body was put in the water means it's quite possible that material linked to his death could have been taken to the tip."

The dark blue four-door 1995 Subaru Legacy sedan being sought in the inquiry was seized last night and is now being forensically examined.

"We're still very interested in tracking the movements of this car in recent weeks, including around the Karori area where Tony lived, Wellington and the Hutt Valley."

Police also want to learn more about Mr Stanlake's movements in the weeks leading up to his death. "The places he went, the people he spoke with, socialised or work with."

The last sighting of Mr Stanlake was at Bunnings, Adelaide Road, Newtown, at 12.13pm on Thursday, 6 July.

"We want to know what happened to him then, where did he go, and who with.

"This is a major inquiry and we urge people to contact us as quickly as possible."

The hotline is 0508 Red Rocks - 0508 733 762.

Ends

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