Ashburton reeling at death
JOELLE DALLY, RACHEL YOUNG AND CAROLINE KING
The Ashburton community is reeling after the murder of a "bubbly, happy-go-lucky" young woman.
Sina Nerisa Solomona, 22, was found near-dead by her stepbrother at her Cass St home about 2.40am on Saturday.
He ran for help, and family members are understood to have gone to the house and attempted CPR before she was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
People at the Devon Tavern, where Solomona and her twin sister had their 21st birthday party, said her violent death was "a bloody shock".
Bartender Toni Guy said Solomona was popular in the community.
Solomona was "very bubbly, happy and friendly".
"I didn't know her well, but what I knew of her, when she was around you want to smile," Guy said.
The Devon has started a collection bucket on the bar for Solomona's family, one of whom works there.
Cleaner Laura Davis said her son used to worked at Canterbury Meat Packers (CMP) with Solomona.
Davis helped organise her 21st party.
"We all know her. All the CMPs come in here and have their breakup dos. She used to come in with her family. She's nice, a hard case - happy go lucky," she said.
"I can't get over [her death]. It's a bloody shock.
"She's only young."
Police said today they had recovered a possible weapon from the scene.
Detective Senior Sergeant John Rae would not be drawn on what the possible weapon was, other than to say some "items of interest" had been obtained by police.
The investigation is now a murder inquiry.
Rae said the items would be shown to family members to determine whether they were from the house or "introduced".
"There are possibilities that we have a weapon, but we can't guarantee it," he said.
"After the post-mortem, we will have an indication if the items we've got were used in the attack."
He said police would have a better idea what caused Solomona's death after an autopsy scheduled for this afternoon.
Rae said police had spoken to her current partner, as well as her former partners, and at this stage were satisfied they were not involved in her death.
"We've got detailed accounts of their movements and at this stage there is nothing to suggest they are involved in this."
The father of Solomona's daughter, 3, had not lived in Ashburton for some months, he said.
Family had also been ruled out at this stage.
No residents from the house - where Solomona lived with her mother, twin sister, daughter, two brothers, her mother's partner and her sister's partner - were in the house when she arrived home, Rae said.
He had "the impression" the person responsible was an someone "close to her".
"It was targeted to her," he said.
"We're trying to ascertain who might want to do this."
Police were considering associates and friends of associates.
He did not believe there was any danger to the community.
"I don't think at this stage we have a maniacal murderer in the community."
Solomona finished a shift at Canterbury Meat Packers about 1am on Saturday and spent time at a friend's house until the partner of her twin sister picked her up and dropped her home just after 2am.
Anuella Solomona told the Ashburton Guardian her daughter was a loving and beautiful person.
"She loved her daughter, she loves her friends, she loves anyone. Until now I'm still questioning who would do this."
She said the family was in deep shock.
"They just don't believe someone could do something like this. If there was any people hate us, any people had trouble, problem with us ... I don't think so."
She said her stepson found Sina.
Initially he could not open the back door and thought she was playing around and not letting him in, but then he saw she was injured and ran down the street in a panic to get help.
He ran into a man on a bike who cycled to a service station to raise the alarm, the Guardian reported.
The autopsy was expected to be completed by about 2pm today.
Rae said the results were unlikely to be released as the homicide investigation was ongoing.
"The body will be examined. If there are any other injuries, that will give us a far better picture of what's happened to her,'' he said.
"With a bit of luck, we'll get some more forensics as well."
A scene examination was expected to be completed by tomorrow, he said.
Rae said the family was struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
"They're pretty shocked. They're finding it hard to cope with. Obviously it was in the family home as well," he said.
Solomona, originally from Porirua, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Rae said police had questioned neighbours, family, friends and associates about Solomona's death.
A family friend said everyone was reeling from the news. "It's dumbfounded the community. It's just a shock."
Neighbours in the quiet street were also shocked.
One, who did not want to be named, said it scared her to think someone could have murdered Solomona and was still walking the streets.
"It's horrible that someone that is so young with a little kid has been killed," she said.
A Facebook tribute page, "Rest In Paradise Sina Solomona", already has more than 1100 likes.
Tributes to Solomona talk of a "beautiful", "big-hearted", "awesome", "mischievous" mother who was "taken much too soon".
Friend Gabrielle Tamepo-Hunt wrote: "How can something so tragic happen to such an innocent sweet loving happy lady like urself [sic] Sina Solomona so horrible . . . So glad i got to know u and have fond memories of Sina. Rest in paradise."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Why are fewer teens learning to drive?Related story: Teen non-drivers lazy 'narcissists'