Forensics search for mystery object

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013
A photo of 22-year-old Rutger Hale and his girlfriend Danielle Oylear sits by his ashes
SAYING GOODBYE: A photo of 22-year-old Rutger Hale and his girlfriend Danielle Oylear sits by his ashes.

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Police are considering the next step in the forensic analysis of the incident in which a mystery object struck and killed motorist Rutger Hale near Wanaka.

On October 24 at 6.25am, as the 22-year-old was driving with his Alaskan girlfriend on the Lake Hawea to Albert Town Rd, a fist-sized object smashed through the windscreen, hitting the driver in the head and killing him instantly.

Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron, of Queenstown, yesterday said items recovered from inside the car were sent to the physical evidence section at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in Auckland. The forensic analysis was advanced and it was now a case of determining the most appropriate avenue for further forensic testing.

"They [ESR] were able to give us some indication of what we may be looking for in terms of shape but not in terms of what the object was. That's the difficulty of it, until we know what it is we are looking for.

"They have been able to advance it but have not been able to do it definitely. At this point we are still liaising with ESR. Effectively we are waiting to see if someone can tell us what the mystery was."

If the next step involved further testing by another organisation then the team needed to identify an appropriate institute and the availability of personnel and equipment.

Items and interior parts of the car struck by the mystery object were removed and sent for analysis. ESR staff analysed the material to search for trace elements and established the object was not metallic.

Police were also continuing to check registered owners of white utility vehicles and still want to speak to the driver of a vehicle that was towing a boat.

There were other lines of inquiry but he declined to elaborate at this stage.

Hale's girlfriend Danielle Oylear, 26, was in the passenger seat when the object smashed through the car and told police she saw a white ute travelling in the opposite direction.

Hale's family was still coming to terms with the loss, Cameron said.

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- The Southland Times

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