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Public's Help Sought After Woman's Body Found

Police Seek Help From Public After Woman's Body Found In Bush

Auckland Police are seeking the help of the public to identify a woman's body found in bush near the Manukau Harbour at Waikowhai, Hillsborough. The body was found at 8:20am this morning by a couple walking their dog.

Image by Jason Dorday.

The body has remained at the scene for most of today while forensic scene examinations take place. Police have used a cherry-picker to get nearer to the body. Detective senior sergeant Gerry Whitley said his team is taking its time to get to the body as, due to steep terrain, it is difficult to get to.

Auckland Police's Detective senior sergeant Gerry Whitley briefs journalists on Operation Waikowhai (July 12 2005) Image by Jason Dorday.

  • Scoop Audio: Click here to listen to the entire Operation Waikowhai press conference.
  • DSS Whitley said: "At this stage we do not know very much at all. It is very early in our enquiry… What we do know is at about 8:20am this morning members of the public were walking down the road behind me (Waikowhai Road) and they discovered the body of a woman. Shortly after that they contacted the Police.

    Police have yet to determine further details of the victim, her age, injuries, or how she died.

    "We have no idea who this woman is, we cannot be specific with her age, we cannot be specific with her race. I would just like to say it is not the body of a young girl. But we do not want to put an age on the woman at this stage simply because we do not know," DSS Whitley said.

    DSS Whitley said Police are mindful not to disturb the scene while forensic investigations are conducted. DSS Whitley is hopeful that the body will be retrieved tonight and that more information will be available Wednesday afternoon.

    "We have deliberately taken our time to get to the body as we do not want to disturb any valuable forensic evidence. I need to stress we do not know how this person has died," DSS Whitley said.

    Police do believe that the body is not the body fishermen reported as sighting in the harbour near Waikowhai Bay.

    "I am appealing to all members of the public to let us know if there is a woman who is missing… there are going to be families and friends that suddenly think their loved one is missing and will think that it may be this woman here. I cannot get away from that, I apologise.

    "We are appealing to hear of anyone who is missing, and that includes anyone who hasn't turned up at work. It may be that a woman has not turned up for work but someone else has phoned in and said that they are sick," DSS Whitley said.

    Waikowhai Road winds down to the Manukau Harbour from Hillsborough Road, Auckland. The road is lined by native bush and light scrub. The terrain is steep. At the end of the lane is a boat ramp often used by fishermen, and there is a children's playground at a reserve near the water's edge. Police say the body was partially visible from the lane.

    Police cannot at this stage say whether the body is, or is not, decomposed.

  • Scoop Audio: Click here to listen to the entire press conference.
  • If you have any information relating to this inquiry phone 0800 924 869 - Operation Waikowhai.


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