Police closer to skeleton identity

03:59, May 23 2012
Port Waikato skeleton
Police search the scene where a skeleton was found at Port Waikato.
Port Waikato skeleton
Police at Sunset Beach, Port Waikato, where a skeleton was found in sand dunes.

Police attempting to identify a skeleton discovered at Port Waikato have whittled down a list of possible missing persons from more than 100 to 30.

The female skeleton was found by a woman walking her dog along Sunset Beach on Saturday.

The dog found the skull partially jutting out of a sandbank and police later dug out the rest of the skeleton. The skeleton had been buried in about four metres of sand but was revealed when unusually high tides at the beach washed away significant chunks of the sand hills.

Detective Inspector Mark Gutry, of Manukau, said officers trying to work out the identity of the skeleton had whittled down an initial list of missing persons from 104 to about 30 "most likely" matches.

The post-mortem was carried out yesterday and showed police the woman was aged between 15 - 25 years old and had been buried at the site for at least 10 years.

Gutry said he was unsure how long the investigation would take.

"The next person could be the person that we connect or it may be the 30th person on the list. It's hard to say. We are confident that we'll identify who this is it's just a matter of methodically going through and checking everything off."

Gutry said the movement of the sand hills also formed part of their investigation as officers questioned whether the movement of the sand had displaced the skeleton from its original burial place.

Investigators have also interviewed Sunset Beach locals about the find.

Members of the public had been contacting police with information, some of which linked to missing persons on the police list.

Gutry said they would like to hear from anyone who may have further information. They are asked to call Papakura police on 09 295 0200 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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