Body found, charges laid

South Waikato News - - Out & About - STUFF.CO.NZ

A Waikato man has been charged with the mur­der of Kim Rich­mond, whose body was found a year af­ter she went miss­ing.

The 45-year-old man will ap­pear in court on June 20.

A body found in a ute re­cov­ered from Lake Ara­puni on Thurs­day is that of Rich­mond, Waikato De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Ross Patterson said.

A post-mortem is un­der way to con­firm the cause of death.

Rich­mond was last seen at her home in Aro­hena, near Te Awa­mutu.

There were no re­ported sight­ings of her since her dis­ap­pear­ance. Her bank cards were found on the road­side in the cen­tral North Is­land a few months later. Her bank ac­counts and phone went un­touched.

Po­lice scoured Lake Ara­puni last year for any sign of her ve­hi­cle and on Tues­day, the po­lice na­tional dive squad re­turned to search again.

The Ara­puni power sta­tion had been shut down to al­low the po­lice dive squad to probe safely in the dark, still wa­ters of the South Waikato hy­dro lake.

A po­lice cor­don was set up on Ara­puni Lake Road on Wed­nes­day af­ter the divers found the miss­ing ve­hi­cle.

On Thurs­day, four divers were in the wa­ter for the ute re­cov­ery op­er­a­tion.

The ute was six me­tres be­neath the sur­face. It was re­cov­ered within a crane’s reach of a ramp com­monly used by boat­ies out for a day’s ski­ing and fun on the wa­ter.

’’The truck has been sal­vaged and we will be send­ing that away for foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion.’’

Patterson did not want to com­ment on how the ute ended up in the lake, but there is ve­hi­cle ac­cess to the spot where it was found. . On Tues­day af­ter­noon, Rich­mond’s mother Ray­wynne Rich­mond, said the fam­ily was cop­ing well.

‘‘We’re do­ing as best we can,’’ she said from her Te Puke home.

‘‘My daugh­ter was a beau­ti­ful woman, a beau­ti­ful mother and part­ner.’’

If any­one has in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Act­ing De­tec­tive Sergeant Ian Foster or De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Ross Patterson at the Te Awa­mutu Po­lice Sta­tion on 07 8720 100.

Al­ter­na­tively, in­for­ma­tion can be re­ported anony­mously via Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111.

Kim Rich­mond

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