Youth arrested for Ashburton mum's murder

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 15:22 20/12/2012
Sina Solomona

"SWEET, LOVING, HAPPY LADY": Sina Solomona embraced life but hers was cut short early on Saturday

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Police investigating the murder of Ashburton mother Sina Solomona are searching multiple properties for evidence today following the arrest of a youth last night.

A male youth, arrested and charged with Solomona's murder, appeared in Youth Court this morning.

Investigators have cordoned off a second home around the corner from the Cass St home where Solomona was violently murdered early Saturday.

The search of the Cass St property was due to be finished today and the home handed back to the family.

Neighbours said police set up another cordon about 3-4pm yesterday and seized a ute that was parked on the street for forensic testing.

A third property search scene elsewhere in the town was understood to have been completed last night.

Arrest came 'unexpectedly'

Detective Senior Sergeant John Rae said the youth was interviewed last night and charged with murder.

Police refused to give any identifying details.

"It came really unexpectedly," Rae said.

Police had searched several properties in Ashburton.

Rae said it was "certainly" good to have an arrest and it had given investigators a clear definition of where they were going in the investigation, which was continuing.

The Cass St house where Solomona was murdered will be handed back to the family today.

Her funeral will be held on Saturday at the Baring Square Methodist Church Hall in Ashburton.

TEXT MESSAGES

Text messages sent by 22-year-old Solomona showed she was happy and chatty in the minutes leading up to the brutal killing.

Police have examined messages Solomona sent in the minutes before she was killed in her Cass St home between 2.20am and 2.40am on Saturday.

Her injuries included blunt trauma and blade wounds to her head, face and throat.

Her body was returned to the family yesterday.

Rae said her text messages had given police a clearer idea of when the attack was carried out.

He said the text messages were mainly sent after Solomona left a friend's house, where she had been socialising after finishing work at 1am. She was dropped home by her twin sister's partner about 2am.

Rae said the text messages were "chatty".

"She was happy and normal, just tired after work," he said. "We can account for her right up to the time she got to the house."

Rae did not say what time the last message was sent.

She never sent a distress signal, he said.

BLOODIED HANDPRINT

Meanwhile, police are waiting on forensic testing to determine if a bloodied handprint found on a clothing bin only a few streets away from the house was left by Solomona's killer.

Police seized all the clothing from the bin and have checked other clothing bins in Ashburton for any items of interest or bloodied clothing.

Rae said forensic testing of the handprint would be "secondary" to testing items from the crime scene.

Investigators spent most of yesterday taking a record of every item that was in the Cass St house.

Rae said Solomona's mother would be taken through the house to see whether anything was missing or if something was there that should not have been.

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Investigators believe the killing was planned, and most likely carried out by someone she knew. It was likely the killer knew Solomona would be there by herself and went in the unlocked back door.

Police are considering a sexual element to the attack but there was no evidence of rape.

There was also no evidence of a fight or scuffle, and there was no sign of any defensive wounds to Solomona's hands and arms.

Her stepbrother found her near death in a pool of blood about 2.40am. He ran for help, but she could not be revived.

A weapon was found close to her body, but Rae is refusing to say what it was, or if it was used in the attack.

- The Press

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