Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Child's body in drain confirmed as Aisling Symes...

Child's body in drain confirmed as Aisling Symes...

Auck police describe thorough search of drain where Aisling Symes' body found; "deeply saddened"; famly request privacy

West Auckland police say they did everything they could to find Aisling Symes on the night the toddler went missing and are deeply saddened about the discovery of her body.

Inquiry head Inspector Gary Davey has confirmed the body found in a drain on a property just a few metres away from the Henderson home where Aisling went missing is that of the two-year-old.

Police removed the body early this morning and a post mortem examination is being carried out.

Mr Davey says police carried out a thorough investigation of the drain shortly after being called to Longburn Rd on Monday last week, when Aisling was reported missing.

He says after speaking briefly to a neighbour, two officers searched 5 Longburn Rd shortly before 6pm that night. One of the officers looked in the manhole immediately on arrival at the scene. Mr Davey says it was daylight and the officer saw that nobody was in the drain.

The officer was then asked to search the stream and within 15 minutes returned to the manhole. The officer borrowed a torch, climbed into the manhole, which was about two metres deep and used his torch to examine the drain. Mr Davey says the officer believed he could see five metres into the drain. He called Aisling's name but could hear nothing but running water.

Mr Davey says drain was searched later in the night by search and rescue members and Aisling's father.

He says with the assistance of Watercare Services, a decision was made to use special search techniques in the drain. Cameras which could search metres into the drain failed to locate Aisling at that stage.

Yesterday, a decision was made to dig up the drain because of blockage issues. A digger and concrete cutters were used and the exercise took five hours.

"Unfortunately once we did open the drain, we were able to see Aisling."

Mr Davey says the family is extremely upset and he asked the media to give them some privacy

"My heart goes out to them for losing their little girl and I know it's going to be a very tough few days. It is small solace to know that at least one small thing is that they can grieve and move on and that they have their little girl home.

"I'm extremely proud of my investigation team. They showed tenacity and commitment to finding Aisling."

Mr Davey says at this stage he believes the case is one of misadventure but says police are keeping an open mind.

Mr Davey says police have identified the Asian woman who was the last person seen with Aisling and are trying to track her down.

It has been reported there has been four complaints lodged about drains in the area. This will be revealed in a later enquiry.

Aisling can be returned to her parents and family once any autopsy is performed. At this stage Aisling has died of misadventure.

Only yesterday, Lord Ashroft, the British businessman who put up a $50,000 reward for the missing military medals stolen from the Army Museum in the Waiuru Military camp a few years ago, offered a similar reward of $50,000.

Acknowledgements: 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB


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