Tragedy yields 'humbling donation' to police

21:45, Aug 31 2014
IN MEMORIAL: Zismore and Sue Lurajud hold a photo of daughter Shelley, who died tragically in July.

Timaru police are humbled by the actions of the Lurajud family who donated money to them after tragically losing their daughter.

Shelley Lurajud was found dead on July 3 after she went missing while out walking. She was believed to have fallen off the Caroline Bay cliffs.

Her body was discovered after almost 48-hours of searching.

At Shelley's funeral, the family asked people to donate money to Land Search and Rescue.

The donation purchased pendants which are given to people with Alzheimer's disease so they can be tracked if they go missing.

Shelley's sister-in-law Sue was "blown-away" with how Land SAR had decided to spend the money.


"What a great piece of equipment," she said.

The family had asked people to donate money at the funeral instead of buying flowers, she said.

"Giving the money to the police was the obvious choice. They were amazing searching for Shelley and keeping us updated."

The police had become like one of the family and had continued to visit and ensure all was fine, she said. "They were so good to us, we wanted to return the favour."

Although the family was already close, because of Shelley's sight and hearing impairments and required help to live independently, the loss had changed their outlook. "People were pretty amazing."

Shelley's father Zismore said police liaison officer, Constable Bob Katene, had told them he tried to find a positive even from the most tragic of situations.

"I suppose this is it. I cannot speak more highly of them. It's nice to know we have done something to help them out," he said.

Senior Constable Bill Phiskie said it was "extremely unusual" for people to donate money to the police. "In the face of something very tragic they were able to do something so helpful - it was very humbling."

The pendants were "extremely" useful pieces of equipment that had been used to track down missing members of the community, Phiskie said.

The pendants were not subsidised by the Government or police but were priceless, especially with an ageing population in South Canterbury, he said.

"They [the Lurajuds] were able help out other members of the community for something there is no funding for," he said.

The Timaru Herald