Family to bring boy back to NZ
The Tokoroa family of the woman shot dead by an escaped prisoner in the Cook Islands want to bring her young son home safe.
Mary Dean and her boyfriend were found shot dead in the village of Titikaveka in Rarotonga last Wednesday.
Mary’s estranged partner, Chris Rimamotu has reportedly been found dead after a police hunt. The 41-year-old is the father of her nine-year-old son and had escaped from prison in the Pacific Island nation.
Rimamotu was serving a seven-year sentence for the abduction and sexual assault of a sixyear-old girl. He fled from a group of prisoners who were on a community work scheme clearing properties under the care of two wardens.
Police launched a manhunt for the fugitive, believed to be armed with a .22 rifle. He is believed to have shot the pair in his home district on the southern part of the island.
Mary’s Tokoroa family received news of the shooting from an extended family member in Rarotonga about 6pm on Wednesday, family spokesperson Patrick Tavai said.
Her two daughters, aged 18 and 21 and a son all from a previous relationship, and a sister were among family gathering at the family home in Tokoroa last week in shock and anger, he said.
‘‘Obviously everyone is very traumatised, we are a very close knit family so everybody is just upset.
With no immediate family in the Cook Islands, Tavai said the main concern was to reach Mary’s nine-year-old son.
‘‘Ensuring he is kept safe and brought back to New Zealand, that’s the concern. We think he is safe but we’re not sure if he is with police - I’m sure police have got him covered as he could be a target as well.’’
Family had plans to go to Rarotonga and get the boy but had waited until Rimamotu was captured and in custody.
‘‘I think they need to wait until police have done what they need to do and then go over.’’
He said Mary and Rimamotu were together for ‘‘some time’’. They met in Rarotonga and Mary decided to make the island her home.
Together the couple had travelled back to see family, but Tavai did not believe Rimamotu was a popular choice.
There are plans to bring Mary’s body home.
Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere-kura Teina at the Tainui Kapa Haka Regionals.