Dogs alert walkers to owner's body in Waikato River video

Lily Hoebers with her sister Beth Winfield's dogs, Bindy (left) and Tobi (right).
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Lily Hoebers with her sister Beth Winfield's dogs, Bindy (left) and Tobi (right).

Beth Christina Winfield was playing with her beloved dogs at a popular reserve spot on the way to her Hamilton parents' home when she mysteriously ended up dead in the Waikato River.

It was a place she frequented to let her much-loved dogs Bindi and Toby have a run around.

Both animals were found agitated and panting on the river bank next to where the 23-year-old Hamilton woman's body was found on Wednesday afternoon.

Beth Christina Winfield, 23, was found in the Waikato River about 4pm on Wednesday.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

Beth Christina Winfield, 23, was found in the Waikato River about 4pm on Wednesday.

Residents had seen the animals running back and forth with leads flying behind, sparking concerns something was amiss at the reserve at Ann Street, not far from Hamilton's CBD.

Around 4pm, her body was discovered in the water next to an overhanging tree.

Winfield's own black Subaru was found parked nearby on the grass reserve.

Officers on the police boat look for clues as to how exactly Beth Winfield died.
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

Officers on the police boat look for clues as to how exactly Beth Winfield died.

Police are treating the death as "unexplained" and cordoned off the grass areas as they pieced together what unfolded at the popular walking and cycling track under grey skies on Wednesday afternoon.

Winfield was believed to have been throwing a ball and playing with her dogs.

Loud music was reported to have been coming from the vehicle throughout the afternoon, Waikato police said in a statement.

Beth Winfield and one her beloved pups.
SUPPLIED

Beth Winfield and one her beloved pups.

They are now appealing for any sightings of the black Subaru station wagon in the Beerescourt area and reserve on Wednesday.

Ad Feedback

Beth Winfield's mother, Carole Winfield, and sister Lily Hoebers were at the reserve on Thursday, trying to make sense of her death.

"We're just trying to figure things out. We have no idea what's happened.

"This was either an accident or something has happened to her."

Beth Winfield, whose family are originally from England, grew up in Hamilton and attended St Columba's Primary School and Sacred Heart Girls' College.

Phillipa Yalden/FAIRFAX NZ

Woman's body found in Waikato River

Family said Beth loved her dogs and would never leave them unattended. She frequented the Ann Street park to play with the pair.

Having dogs of their own and unable to take on any more, family members are now trying to figure out what to do with Bindi and Toby, who were retrieved by animal control officers and taken to the pound.

They would be willing to give them up to a new home, Hoebers said. 

A black Subaru was found parked next to a tree on the river bank on the Ann Street reserve.

A black Subaru was found parked next to a tree on the river bank on the Ann Street reserve.

An Ann Street resident noticed the dogs about 4.30pm.

"There were dogs - one brown, one black - running around on leashes before the police arrived.

"It seemed strange that they were running around with their leads and we couldn't see anyone, just some walkers coming.

Police tape surrounds the location where a woman's body was found in the Waikato River.
PHILLIPA YALDEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Police tape surrounds the location where a woman's body was found in the Waikato River.

"They obviously knew. They were up and down the bank all the time, yapping, then someone took control of them."

Police arrived shortly after the body was found by a passer-by. They set up large cordons on the river walkway about 5pm.

"There were lots of police - it was all cordoned off," the resident said.

"There were a lot of walkers going by, too, so they were diverted."

The woman said the cordons were reduced after officers, with the help of a police boat, retrieved the body from the river.

Police later went door to door to check if residents were okay, she said.

Detectives from Hamilton police's CIB unit conducted a scene examination at the river on Thursday and  a post-mortem is being conducted in Auckland, which family hoped would shed light on Beth Winfield's death.

Anyone with information can contact Detective Sergeant Terri Wilson of the Hamilton CIB on (07) 858 6200 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Funding to support 23,000 new homes

Prime Minister Bill English has pledged a $600m housing injection.

The Government is pouring $600m into infrastructure that will support 23,300 new Auckland homes.

Anika Moa tours songs for bubbas

Anika Moa Chop Chop Hiyaaa tour in Pukekohe

The singer-songwriter's Chop Chop Hiyaaaa tour is a delightful way to entertain preschoolers and parents alike.

Girl, 9, drowns in bath video

Yearbury speaks to media outside the house where the 9-year-old girl drowned in a bathtub.

An Auckland family is "really raw at the moment" after a young child drowned at home.

Gangs' fight night draws skeptics video

Tokomauri Hoterene bloodied from his fight against Head Hunter Cory Enoka.

Members from 12 rival factions stepped into the ring in a show against street violence. But critics don't buy it.

Wellington

Corgis worth a queen's ransom video

Jack and Joyce Luo spent more than $20,000 to bring their beloved welsh corgis Amy and Lucky from Beijing when they ...

Couple shell out $20,000 to bring their beloved dogs to join them in NZ.

Car buried by slip

The buried Mazda in Palliser Rd, Roseneath, on Sunday morning.

Owner was at a party when he discovered his Mazda 6 under a pile of dirt.

Kapiti calls for its own hospital

K Gurunathan says: "We have particular needs with more than 26 per cent of our population over 65 years old. You can't ...

Nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition, citing "critical need" for better care.

Super-sized Savea headache

Julian Savea will be feeling the heat to retain his position now that Vince Aso, right, is back.

Super Rugby's top try-scorer is on the plane to South Africa and it might spell trouble for Julian Savea.

Canterbury

Lending a helping paw video

190717 NEWS Photo: Joseph Johnson/Stuff
Lachlan Carnahan, an 8-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism ...

A labrador named Lady has changed a young autistic boy's life "overnight".

Fires causing concern

The chimney cavity where a fire broke out in a Queenstown house early Sunday morning.

Builders failing to install multi-fuel fireplaces to NZ standards responsible for a spate of fires.

Mayors urge climate change action

A group of 39 mayors are calling for the government to act urgently in order to combat climate change.

Lianne Dalziel joins NZ mayors is calling for more action from the Government on climate.

Identical twins turn 100 video

Identical twins Cora Wright, left, and Elsie Fagg have notched up a milestone birthday together.

Identical twin sisters from Otago have beaten the one-in-700 million odds.

Waikato

Curfew to curb boy racers? video

More than 100 residents, boy racers, police and regional council representatives turned out for the meeting on Onion ...

Boy racers and residents met face to face to talk about rising tensions in Te Kowhai.

Spending questioned

Waikato District Health Board chief executive Nigel Murray.

Waikato DHB remains tight-lipped over private meeting regarding chief executive Nigel Murray's expenses.

'Kiwi culture' turns deadly video

Making a summer splash at locations such as the Raglan footbridge is seen as a Kiwi tradition but the consequences can ...

Four suffered life-changing injury diving off a wharf. Now, councils are taking action.

Hooves on the beat

Senior Constable Bill Eivers and Ali are known to patrol Benneydale together.

Senior Constable Bill Eivers has been patrolling on horseback for the past 15 years.

Taranaki

High steaks for cattle breeders

Jacqueline and Robin Blackwell have a friendly rivalry.

It's just as much about bragging rights at home as it is about national recognition for the Blackwell family.

Light pole hit-and-run

Police were alerted to the incident and located the driver a short time later.

The pole was left blocking an intersection.

Terrier looking for a friend

210717 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Katie Tahere's dog Mocha is looking for a walking buddy after her dog Coco ...

Mocha is looking for a new walking companion after losing her best friend.

Farewells not the focus

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says the team aren't focusing on rallying together to try and send the departees out on a high.

Any game now could be the last for several stalwarts, but the Chiefs aren't using departures as motivation.

Manawatu

Fetch not always a fun game

Chasing sticks can be a dangerous game, write vet Malcolm Anderson.

OPINION: Vet Malcolm Anderson offers some words of advice about the dangers of playing fetch.

No random drug tests 

Only following a police shooting do officers undergo drug and alcohol testing. (File photo).

Police are only given drug and alcohol testing if they fire a gun during an incident.

Millions spent fixing police cars

A police car comes to a final halt after crashing through a Hamilton property in June.

More than $8 million has been spent fixing damaged police cars in the past three years, with costs peaking in 2016.

Moon landing celebrated 

Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon.

MEMORY LANE: Do you remember the first Moon landing?

Nelson

Fake News and tinfoil hats

12052017 News Photo: TOM LEE/FAIRFAX NZ - MP Peter Dunne speaks at Cafe Agora in Hamilton. 4 members of the audience ...

OPINION: As Trump and his supporters bang on about "alternative facts", the concept is very much alive and well here in the provinces.

Nelson reign supreme

22072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/ STUFF

Nelson players and support staff after winning the  Nelson Bays Division 1 ...

Nelson turn it on to hammer Wanderers in Nelson Bays club rugby final. 

Stage set for Ma's Place fundraiser

The Split Apple Rockers Andrew Palmer, Dave Baker, Craig Starrenburg, Ernie Tarling and John Foes-Lamb are due to ...

Support group Ma's Place to benefit from proceeds of variety concert.

Breaking up bad

It all starts innocently enough.

In this week's Middle-aged Man Stu Hunt combs through the wreckage of his dating history.

Marlborough

Renwick denied 'fairytale' finish

Moutere captain Baxter Wilson holds up the champion of champions trophy.

Moutere ensured there would be no happy ending to Renwick's "fairytale" season with a 22-19 grand final victory.

Old Boys get job done

Marlborough College Old Boys celebrate with their supporters after beating Moutere in the division two final at ...

Marlborough College Old Boys gained sweet revenge for their 2016 final defeat when they overcame Moutere 27-15.

Chinese keen on pricey NZ crays

New Zealand crayfish is a premium product in China where it can fetch $1000 a kilo.

When it comes to high end gourmet goods the Chinese have a growing appetite for New Zealand wine, water and crayfish.

Escaping the Beast of Blenheim

Stewart Murray Wilson talks to journalist Harrison Christian while fishing at the Whanganui river mouth.

Even though he lives far away under strict conditions, Stewart Murray Wilson still haunts his former partner.

South Canterbury

A metre of snow in one day gallery

Staff clear snow from the base building at Mt Dobson on Sunday.

South Canterbury's ski fields will be primed for the rest of the season after huge snow dumps.

Response praised gallery video

A car stuck in the middle of Evans St with two occupants. Two police officers pushed the car off the road.

Timaru mayor praises response to storm, as attention turns to the clean up effort.

Working in the wild weather video

Lance Corporal Gerald Hart, Third Combat Support Services Battalion member, left, and Staff Sergeant Jason Segal look at ...

Hundreds of people worked tirelessly behind the scenes during SC's wild weekend.

Chickens lost in flood video

The Tin Shed owner Lesley Limbe at her property in Rangitata, which was hit by extensive flooding.

Retailer left questioning why her property was hit so badly by rapidly rising floodwaters.

Southland

Todd Barclay: the other side of the ledger

Yes, we're all aware of the irony. Todd Barclay and crew in the Birdman competition during the 40th Queenstown Winter ...

What positives might Todd Barclay be able to point to, in terms of his electoral efforts in Clutha-Southland?

Cancer care a 'postcode lottery'

Fred Futschek's wife Marie died in January 2013 of stomach cancer.

Countless Kiwis may be missing out on the care they need due to the geographical inconsistencies.

Barry addresses elder abuse

Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie with Maggie Barry at a public meeting for seniors in Windsor, Invercargill.

"Bad people [prey] on old people."

Stewart Island heritage gets $1m

An artist's impression of the Rakiura Heritage Centre. The centre has received, over $1 million in Government funding to ...

The Government is to commit $1.08m to the Rakiura Heritage Centre Trust.

Ad Feedback