Police suspect foul play in cold case

21:03, May 18 2014
Ross Creek
NO LUCK: A police dive squad has searched Ross Creek, an area Tui Barclay frequently visited. Nothing was found.

Police are reopening a case involving a Dunedin woman missing since 2002.

They now suspect there may have been foul play.

Tuitania (Tui) Marama Barclay has not been since since October 2002. She was 29 at the time.

Tuitania (Tui) Marama Barclay
COLD CASE: Tuitania (Tui) Marama Barclay went missing in 2002. Police have reopened the case as they suspect she was the victim of foul play.

Her former partner, Bill Brown, reported her missing in February 2003 and police opened a missing-person file, but inquiries did not yield any significant leads.

At the time of her disappearance she was living with Brown in Dunedin's Wakari Rd.

Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said Brown delayed in reporting Barclay missing because he thought she had walked out on him.


At the time, Brown told police he had seen and heard from Barclay until about mid-November 2002, but Inglis said police had not yet spoken to Brown as part of the re-investigation to confirm those details.

The last independent sighting of Barclay was in October 2002.

Barclay had three sons, two to Brown and a third who lived with his father in the Waikato. Inglis said Barclay's children were now aged about 11, 13 and 18 years old. Two lived in England and the third was still in New Zealand.

''We've got three children who don't know what's happened to their mother,'' Inglis said. 

''We have to believe she is dead,'' he said. ''There's no evidence of her leaving the country or claiming a benefit.''

He said if she had died of suicide or natural causes, police would have expected to find a body.

Barclay was her adoptive mother's surname. She had previously gone by the names of Tuitania McIntosh [her birth mother's surname], Tuitania Brown and Sandra Williams. 

Police said she was European, petite and about 1.57 metres tall. At the time of her disappearance she had dyed brown hair, although she often had blonde hair.

Barclay had a history of drug-taking and prostitution, but police said that in the period leading up to her disappearance, drugs and prostitution were not part of her life.

Inglis said that in about September 2002 Barclay had indicated she was going to leave Brown, but she appeared focused on raising her children.

"This appeared to be a woman who had been off the rails a bit in the past but had now turned her life around and showed all the signs of a caring mother who would not leave her three children," he said.

"As an unsolved missing-person case, we've gone back and reviewed this file again," he said.

Police have talked to people who knew Barclay, including friends, family and previous neighbours.

In April they searched one Dunedin address where she had lived, and today were searching a second property where she had resided.

The police dive squad searched Ross Creek in mid-April. Barclay was known to have frequently visited the area.
Inglis said there was nothing found at the creek.

Police are appealing for anyone who knew Barclay to come forward.

"Eleven years down the track, people may be more willing to talk to us about things that they may not have told us back then" Inglis said.

Anyone with information can call Detective Matt Preece on 03 471 4800 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.