Police are now in a position to release further details about the sequence of events that has led up to the death of Linda Woods at her Taraire Street home on Thursday 1 June.
Police media statement in full:
We now believe this to have started as a sexually motivated burglary.
This belief is founded on a few key pieces of evidence gathered over the past few days.
All occupants of the home are female, and we anticipate the offender has targeted the property for this reason.
The offender was discovered hiding in one of the occupant’s bedrooms.
During the interview process the occupants of the house have also told us of a pattern of odd occurrences at the property in the lead-up to the incident.
This includes clothing being discovered disturbed and interference with sensor lights and porch light bulbs.
An incident was also reported at the property in 2022 which involved someone reaching in through a bedroom window. While Police do not currently have evidence that this incident was connected, it cannot be ruled out.
As you can imagine, the circumstances of this incident have caused significant distress to the family involved, who also are grieving a much-loved family member.
We commend them for the bravery they showed during the incident, and for the courage and resilience they have shown ever since while assisting us in our investigation.
Our support for them will continue at this unimaginably difficult time.
We know this information is going to cause alarm to the community and we want to reassure you that our primary focus is locating this offender as soon as possible.
One important task our investigators are now undertaking is to look through reports of any incidents in the area over the past year that might fit the description of the ones outlined above.
We are asking the community to remain alert, and we are also imploring you to come forward with any information you have.
If you have experienced any disturbances at your property that are similar to what has been described and you have not reported these to Police, we need you to get in touch.
We also believe someone in the community will know the offender. We need you to hear this message – please, come forward, and share what you know.
The offender will have returned to his home late in Thursday night without his jean shorts or size US13 shoes. His behaviour may have been noticeably different after this incident.
The victims at this property were determined not to let this offender get away and held onto him, attempting to block his exit.
The victims have also taken a brief video on a cell phone during the incident.
We will not be releasing the video in full as it will likely be used as evidence in court, and the contents has the potential to retraumatise victims.
However for the purposes of identification we are releasing a still image taken from the video of the back of the individual that we are seeking in the hope someone who knows him will see it and speak to us. (The still image is attached to this release as a picture for download.)
The video is very short and only captures the offender from behind, however from the still image you can get a good impression of the offender’s age, build and the style of his upper clothing,
If you recognise this man, or if you know someone who matches the description of an older man aged 40-60, with short, grey-speckled, possibly curly hair, Māori or Polynesian and with a solid build, please – we need you to speak with us.
Our top priority is locating this offender and holding him to account, and the Kaikohe community is the key to solving this crime.
We have set up a dedicated phone number so that anyone wanting to get information to investigators can do so quickly and easily.
You can speak with someone from the investigations team by calling 0800 LINDAW (0800 546329), or on 105 if you can’t get through on the 0800 number.
You can also share information anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.