Missing woman may have gone to watch sunrise

Map showing last known location of Emma Campbell.
Map showing last known location of Emma Campbell.

Police say missing Christchurch woman Emma Campbell must have been watching the sunrise before her disappearance as they can think of no other reason why she might be up in the Port Hills.

Police have spent the last six days scouring the Port Hills area for sign of the missing woman whose car and shoes were found off the side of the road leading up to the cliffs overlooking Lyttleton harbour.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Rae of the Christchurch South CIB said search teams, police dogs and helicopters had spent the day scouring the area but had found no further sign of her.

Mr Rae said they still did not know why Ms Campbell was in the area but it was thought she might have been heading up to the cliffs above Lyttleton Harbour to view the sunrise, described by Mr Rae as “spectacular” that morning.

"We haven’t got any closer to finding her," Mr Rae said.

Police could not yet think of another reason for her being up there, he said.

"Certainly it’s a viable option," Mr Rae said.

While it was a popular area for people to view the sunrise, it was unusual for Ms Campbell to be up that early on a Saturday morning, Mr Rae said.

Her car, a 1994 blue Toyota Corona, was found about three car-lengths off the side of the road, with no skid marks leading up to the site.

Her wallet was also on the passenger seat, which Mr Rae suggested a robbery was unlikely and that the car had either been deliberately or accidentally run off the road.

The fact that her shoes were found between the car and the nearby walking track suggested she had gone for a walk, either up towards the peak or down in to the valley below.

“We don’t even know how she’s run off the road, or why she’s run off the road there,” he said.

While it was odd that Ms Campbell would go for a walk along a bush track with no shoes on, Ms Campbell’s sister had told police that she had bought the shoes and given them to Ms Campbell after finding them too hard to walk in, Mr Rae said.

Mr Rae said there was no evidence of any issues in her personal life which caused them any concern.

“It’s not as though she’s just had a huge violent breakup with some bloke or anything like that.”

Ms Campbell was believed to be a committed Christian, though the fact that she may have harmed herself was not being ruled out.

“We’re no forming any particular view at this stage because we just have so few answers to basic question.”

The drop of red liquid found in a restroom at the Sign of a Kiwi restroom was not a significant part of their investigation, but that would be reviewed if any information shed new light on it, Mr Rae said.

Police had extended their door knocking campaign after a leaflet drop in the nearby suburbs of Cashmere and Cracoft, expanding it in to Victoria Park where they had been encouraging residents to check their properties for any sign of Ms Campbell.

Police were particularly interested in the two hours between when Ms Campbell had put $30 worth of petrol in her car petrol in her car at 5.30am before her car was found at 7.30.

“Those are really valuable times and we’re looking for anybody who can help us with that.”

Mr Rae said they would like to speak with anyone who might have information which could help.

HUNT FOR CLUES: A police dog and handler cover an area off Dyers Pass Rd near where Emma Campbell's car was found.
DAVID HALLETT/The Press
HUNT FOR CLUES: A police dog and handler cover an area off Dyers Pass Rd near where Emma Campbell's car was found.
STRATEGY MEETING: Jonathon Tressier, left, Senior Constable Helen Mahon-Stroud, Boyd Kedzlie and David Campbell, Emma's brother, discuss the search on Dyers Pass Rd yesterday.
DAVID HALLETT/The Press
STRATEGY MEETING: Jonathon Tressier, left, Senior Constable Helen Mahon-Stroud, Boyd Kedzlie and David Campbell, Emma's brother, discuss the search on Dyers Pass Rd yesterday.

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