Police investigate discovery of woman's body


UPDATED: 1.50pm


The woman found dead outside Pohlen Hospital early this morning is believed to be an 18-year-old woman from Tauranga.


Police in Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland are still working together to establish a firm link between separate events in the three districts.


What police have established is that a 32-aged Tauranga man was driving his silver Toyota Prado along SH29 in the Kaimai Ranges at approximately 3.00am.


He struck a person who was on the road and immediately stopped his vehicle.


He was then pulled from his vehicle and assaulted before being placed back into his Toyota and abducted.


At one point the Toyota stopped and the victim took the opportunity to escape and raise the alarm. He underwent hospital treatment for head injuries but has since been released.


At 4.00am security staff discovered the body of a woman outside the Pohlen Hospital in Matamata.


At approximately 4.30am police in Auckland contacted Bay of Plenty to report that the silver Toyota Prado had been recovered in the Papakura area and they had arrested a man and a woman for unlawfully being on a property.


At the scene of the abduction on SH29 police have located a silver Nissan Wingroad stationwagon which was stolen from Tauranga Hospital some time yesterday and appears to have broken down.


Detective Senior Sergeant Lew Warner said: "There is still a fair bit of work to be done and there will need to be a post mortem to establish exactly when and how the young woman found in Matamata died. However at this stage we are working on the belief that a chain of events began when the stolen stationwagon broke down or ran out of petrol in the Kaimai Ranges leaving the offenders stranded.


"The woman has a number of injuries and we need to wait until the conclusion of the post mortem before we can establish definitively whether she was the person who was struck by the Toyota on SH29."


Police are keen to hear from anyone travelling between Tauranga, Matamata and Auckland early this morning who saw the silver Toyota Prado.


Police are also interested in the movements of the silver Nissan stationwagon in the Central North Island since yesterday afternoon.


The abduction victim has told police that two truck and trailer units passed by while they were still at the scene on SH29 and he tried to wave them down.


Police are appealing for those drivers to come forward.


Police are in contact with the dead woman's family but no name will be issued until formal identification processes have been completed.


Anyone with information is asked to contact Tauranga Police on 07 577 4300. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


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Two people will appear in court this afternoon charged in relation to the abduction of a Tauranga man on SH29 in the Kaimai Ranges early this morning.


The 30-year-old man and 23-year-old woman will appear jointly charged with aggravated robbery, kidnap and injuring with intent.

They will also be jointly charged with the unlawful taking of a vehicle stolen from Tauranga Hospital yesterday. The car was found abandoned at the abduction scene.


Both are expected to appear at the Manukau District Court this afternoon.


EARLIER:


Police in Bay of Plenty are liaising with colleagues in Waikato to establish whether there is a link between a woman's body found in Matamata and an abduction and assault in Tauranga.


The body of a young woman has been found outside Pohlen Hospital on Rawhiti Ave about 4am by staff who contacted emergency services.


"She was dead. There were some injuries that appear to have contributed to her death," said police northern communications Inspector Andy Brill.


The woman's death was being treated as suspicious and police were trying to work out what happened and how she came to be at the hospital, he said.


Pohlen Hospital is a community charitable trust hospital that offers a range of services but not emergency care.


Police said there is a possible link between the woman's death and an incident in Tauranga.


At approximately 3am a man driving a vehicle on SH29 Kaimai Ranges was abducted by a man and a woman.


He was assaulted, but managed to escape from the offenders' vehicle and is currently receiving medical treatment.


A man and a woman are in custody after they were arrested in South Auckland for being unlawfully on a property.


Police said it is very early in the investigation but police are investigating a possible link between the events.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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