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Focus of murder inquiry returns to Taranaki

Operation Lucy - Focus of murder inquiry returns to Taranaki

The focus of the police investigation into the death of BIRGIT BRAUER will return to Taranaki on Monday, as a result of new information that has been received from the public.

The Officer in Charge of Operation Lucy, Detective Senior Sergeant GRANT COWARD, says the search of the Öhau River in the Horowhenua has been cleared, and Police now intend to focus their attention on an area in and around Lake Rotokare, a popular picnic reserve near Eltham.

"We have information that the vehicle of interest to us has been sighted near the lake as recently as nine days ago, [23 September 2005], and so we want to carry out a thorough search of this immediate area," he says.

"A search and rescue team as well as the dive squad will be used.

"The stolen Ute found abandoned on the Öhau River, which is currently, the subject of a forensic examination, has still not been positively linked to the murder."

"I anticipate the results of the forensic examination on this vehicle will be received this week."

"As soon as the result of this examination is known, we will be able to confirm that the vehicle is involved, or eliminate it from the enquiry."

"Until we have something definite that links the Toyota Hilux to the murder, we will continue to follow up on the sizeable amount of detailed information that is coming freely from the public."

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

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"We are actively seeking the person who we believe stole the vehicle, but to date he has not been located or spoken to."

"A large police team is working on this investigation, and they are working hard to resolve it."

"This investigation is entering its third week, and so 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 rural Eltham, Hawera, or South Taranaki region, on or about Friday 23 September 2005."

"If anyone has seen this vehicle particularly in the Lake Rotokare or local area at or around this date, or from 20-24 September 2005, we ardently ask them to please contact our enquiry team.

Police are still looking for Birgit's personal belongings including her back packs, Mr Coward said.

There are images of this property on the New Plymouth police web site. The address is...www.newplymouth.police.govt.nz.

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


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