Autopsy confirms body is that of Rae Portman

ROB KIDD
Last updated 10:20 29/09/2012

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Police have confirmed the body found on a rural South Auckland property is that of Rae Portman.

Detective Insptecor Mark Gutry confirmed this morning that a autopsy officially identified Portman.

"It was great to be able to find Rae and now we're able to return her to her family and they can then grieve and have some closure," he said this morning.

Police discovered Portman's body at a house in Ardmore on Thursday afternoon as part of a "follow up enquiry".

A quick search turned up personal items belonging to the 33-year-old, including clothes, and a more extensive search of the address then took place.

A few hundred metres from the house, by a creek at the back of the property on Papakura-Clevedon Rd, they found the body.

It was covered but police will not say what with, nor will they speak of the state she was in or whether any weapons had been recovered.

No one has yet been charged with her murder.

Portman -  who is also known as "Bok" and had methamphetamine connections - was last seen at a Mt Albert Motel on June 20.

Through cell phone records, police were able to track her progress to Papakura that evening and on to Hamilton the following day.

They believe she travelled south in a black Mazda Astina, which was followed by a yellow Holden Commodore ute.

The Mazda turned up in a Hamilton scrap yard a few days later and the ute has been found by police.

However, it was the movements of those vehicles that Gutry believed would provide all the answers to the case.

He said officers who initially went to the Ardmore house were not expecting to find a body and the residents had not been arrested.

"We've spoken to them and we're satisfied they didn't know [the body] was there," Gutry said.

A 32-year-old Hamilton man accused of kidnapping Portman appeared in the Papakura District Court yesterday and though a judge ruled against suppression of his name, the man's counsel Shane Cassidy indicated he would appeal the decision and thus interim suppression was imposed pending a date in the High Court.

Ardmore resident Gill Collins, who lives metres from where the body was found, said she was shocked to think it could have been there for the last three months.

"That poor girl, it doesn't even bear thinking about," she said.

As a mum herself, Collins turned her attention to Portman's mother Rebecca Norton who appeared on Police Ten 7 on Thursday night pleading for information as to her daughter's whereabouts.

"It must be absolutely devastating. No mother would want to think of their daughter being thrown away like a piece of trash," she said.

Family had not yet identified the body and a post mortem was undertaken yesterday to determine cause of death.

The site where the body was found was only metres from where a baby girl was found dead in a creek on Burnside Rd in July last year.

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- Auckland Now

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