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Woman's disappearance 'out of the ordinary'

AMY MAAS
Last updated 15:17 11/08/2012
Rae Portman
MISSING: Rae "Bok" Portman

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LATEST: A woman who mysteriously  dissapeared after checking into an Auckland motel is the centre of a baffling police hunt.

Rae Colleen Portman, 33, nicknamed "Bok", was reported missing to police on July 2, almost two weeks after she disappeared - and police admit they fear for her safety.

She drove from Hamilton to Auckland where she checked into a Mt Albert Motor Inn and visited friends. Then she vanished. Her car was found in Auckland and her belongings at the motel.

Leila Wang, an employee at the motel, confirmed Portman had stayed there in June and when she had not checked out of her room staff put her belongings in a bag and cleaned the room as normal.

She said the items were mostly clothes and there was nothing to raise suspicions of foul play being involved.

Portman had paid for the room when she checked in and although Wang did not remember her, she recalled being surprised so many things had been left in the room.

Police are downplaying any possible connections to the sex industry.

Portman's Facebook profile shows she is linked to a high-profile strip club owner and people involved in the sex industry.

But Detective Inspector Mark Gutry  said: "We've got no indication that she was working in that industry, she may well have contacts that we haven't become aware of yet."

Gutry also downplayed similarities to murdered woman Carmen Thomas.

Thomas, who worked part time as an escort, also vanished mysteriously from her home. In her case, her car was found driven from Auckland and dumped in Hamilton.

Her former partner Brad Callaghan this year pleaded guilty to killing her, then dismembering her body. He also dumped her car in Hamilton to try and throw police off the scent.

Gutry said: "Until we find out what happened, we don't know if it's similar to that, but we're keeping all options open."

Gutry said police were speaking to Portman's "wide circle" of friends, which included previous partners.

He said there were fears for her safety because her disappearance was out of the ordinary.

"We've spoken to family and they're at a loss as to what's happened to her," he said.

He said it was not uncommon for Portman to travel between Auckland and Hamilton to visit friends.

Portman, who was unemployed at the time of her disappearance, drove from Hamilton to Auckland on June 20 and checked into a Mt Albert motel.

She went out around Auckland and returned to the motel that evening, but failed to check out the next day and left personal belongings in the room.

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Police have not been able to find Portman's cellphone or bankcards and they have not been used or accessed since her disappearance.

"What we found in the motel was pretty much what you'd expect for going away for a couple of days and staying in a motel, so personal belongings and clothes," he said.

The vehicle Portman drove to Auckland, a silver coloured VW Passat, has been recovered and examined.

"The car she'd actually come up in to Auckland had been sold, and that may well have been her reason for coming up here," said Gutry.

However, he added that an examination of the car had not given them any new leads.

"We would like to hear about any other vehicles she may have had access to over that time."

Portman's passport had not been used either.

"We're certainly making enquiries but we have no indication that she may have gone overseas or anywhere else."

Gutry urged anyone who knows her movements since June 20 to contact them.

Anyone with can call the police investigation team on 0800 723 767 (0800 RaePortman) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police have also set up a Facebook page.

- Auckland Now

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