Coroner to examine Iraena Asher case

Last updated 05:00 21/05/2012
Iraena Asher
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FATE UNKNOWN: The 25-year-old went missing around Piha in the early hours of October 11, 2004.

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Light may finally be shed on one of Auckland's most intriguing cold cases with a coroner's hearing set to examine the disappearance of Iraena Asher scheduled for July.

Asher went missing almost seven years ago from Piha in the early hours of October 11, 2004.

The 25-year-old student and part-time model was last seen standing naked under a streetlight during a blustery storm.

That night, the owners of the Black Sands Lodge, Bobbie Carroll and Julia Woodhouse, had taken Asher in after she fled a party and made a 111 call to police. But later that night she ran from the couple's home.

Following the seven-year anniversary of her passing, the case could finally be referred to the coroner. An inquest is scheduled for three days in Auckland from July 17 to 20.

Asher parents have been reluctant to talk about the upcoming inquest. In November Asher's father, Mike, said the family was still grieving and felt let down by police, who failed Asher by responding to her 111 call by sending a taxi.

Police conceded in November that they were still baffled by Asher's disappearance and didn't know if she'd drowned or was killed.

''The last she was seen was near the beach. So our enquiries, and the time-frame of the lack of action, would say that the inference is that she is dead,'' Detective Senior Sergeant Stan Brown said.

''We don't know whether it was an accident, a drowning by accident or an intervention by a second person - was there any criminal activity? We don't know.''

Occasional tips are still reported to police from the Piha community where Brown says locals often blame one another.

Brown said the police file remained open.

''The file [will be] sitting at Henderson police station, just waiting for that phone call.''

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- Auckland Now

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