Body hidden on rural property

Police find items of Portman's in shed

ROB KIDD AND JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 12:03 28/09/2012

Rae Portman case: body found

Rae Portman
MISSING: Rae "Bok" Portman.

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LATEST: A body police found yesterday is believed to be that of missing woman Rae Portman and detectives hadn't expected to find it.

The body was found at a rural Ardmore property yesterday afternoon.

Detective Inspector Mark Gutry said police were at the property on Papakura-Clevedon Rd as part of their investigations and detectives hadn't expected to find a body.

But while they were there they found personal items belonging to Portman, 33, and began a more thorough search.

Gutry confirmed the body was found under something but would not say what it was or what personal items of Portman's had led to the discovery.

The residents at the property were unaware of the body and police were satisfied they were not involved in her death.

At a press conference this morning, Gutry stressed the body hadn't been identified and wouldn't be until an autopsy was completed over the next few days.

He would not confirm whether there had been further arrests as a result of the find, nor would he comment on how it related to the appearance in the Papakura District Court yesterday of a 32-year-old Hamilton man charged with kidnapping her.

The man is expected to face further charges.

Police will take media to the address the body was found later today.

A segment on Police Ten 7 last night urged public to come forward with information about a black Mazda Astina, which they believe transported Portman from Mt Albert to Papakura and then Hamilton, shortly after her disappearance on June 20 from the Mt Albert Motor Lodge.

Police also wanted details about the movements of a yellow Holden Commodore ute with the registration "LCKDUP", which they believed had travelled with the other car and had since been recovered.

More than 40 people called police after the programme.

POLICE TRACE PORTMAN'S MOVEMENTS

Police revealed yesterday that they believed Portman returned to Hamilton before her death.

Phone records show her mobile phone was used in the suburb of Te Rapa on Thursday, June 21, after police traced her movements to Papakura, South Auckland, the previous night.

On June 26 the Mazda turned up at a Hamilton scrap yard leading police to believe she died around that area, Police Ten 7 revealed.

Portman's phone was tracked back to Papakura, but police do not believe she was in possession of it by that point in time.

Her mother Rebecca Norton, who revealed this month that Portman was four months pregnant when she disappeared, spoke of her "nightmare" and said she could not help but think of where her daughter's body was.

"If it's wet out there, I don't know if she's out there getting wet," she told Police Ten 7. "Wherever she is I would like somebody to bring to her home."

The 32-year-old man charged with kidnapping Portman was yesterday given name suppression.

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Initially the judge denied name suppression but defence counsel indicated he would appeal the decision and interim suppression was then imposed until the matter could be heard in the High Court.

Throughout the hearing the man wiped away tears and mouthed "I love you" at his mother, who was in the public gallery.

Gutry said the man had been a "person of interest" in the case for some time and was arrested as the result of ongoing investigative work.

"We want to find Rae's body and bring her home to her family and friends," he said.

There was a lot of work still to do and Gutry did not rule out further charges against other people.

Before going missing from the motor lodge, Portman - known as "Bok" - dropped off her car at a mechanic.

After her family reported her missing on July 2 and made online appeals for information, her car was returned to her friend Kristina Le Noel.

Le Noel was later charged with stealing the car after allegedly selling it without the Portman family's permission.

Three other people have been arrested as police have traced Portman's whereabouts.

Brendon Wilson and Dean Addison are facing drugs charges, and Voi Marie King is accused of assaulting Portman.

None of the charges related directly to her disappearance.

Gutry said police needed the public's continued support and asked anyone with information about Portman to contact police or call 0800 RAE PORTMAN.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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