Body found, charges laid
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.