Fam­ily to bring boy back to NZ

South Waikato News - - Front Page - PHILLIPA YALDEN

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.

MARK TAY­LOR/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere-kura Teina at the Tainui Kapa Haka Re­gion­als.

Mary Dean.

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