Waikato Police say an arrest in an historic cold case is a testament to the dedication of enquiry staff and demonstrates that no matter how long a case may remain unresolved it is never closed.
District Rural Field Crime Supervisor, Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Whitehead, said Police today arrested a 49-year-old Auckland man in connection with the 2003 disappearance of Kerepei mother of three, Sara NIETHE.
“Sara was reported missing when she failed to return to her Kerepei home after visiting a male acquaintance at his Kaihere property on State High 27″.
“The last confirmed sighting of her was at Ngatea on the 30 March 2003. CCTV footage recorded her making a purchase while on her way to Kaihere”.
Mr Whitehead said Sara was expected to have returned that night to the home she shared with her mother and three children.
“Her failure to return home or to make contact was immediately of concern as it was so out of character. One of her children was having her 10th birthday and Sara had made a booking for a birthday outing at a local cafe”.
“An extensive search and Police investigation failed to find or establish what had happened to Sara or the Honda car she was driving on the day she went missing.”
Mr Whitehead said the investigation remained open over the intervening years with new information being checked and other aspects being re-examined.
“A full review of the investigation was carried out in 2010 and following that an extensive reinvestigation was launched”.
“Evidence assembled by the investigation team was reviewed by the Hamilton Crown Solicitor before the decision to arrest the man was made”.
The man will appear in the North Shore District Court on the 17 August on a charge of murder.
“To be able to take this case to the point it can be presented before the Courts is a testament to the calibre of investigative staff who serve the wider Waikato community”.
“It will also hopefully serve as some reassurance to Sara’s family and those of other victims who place their faith in Police,” said Mr Whitehead.