Police are investigating the possibility an abandoned vehicle reported to have been discovered in a central North Island forest could be linked to the disappearance of Hawke's Bay teenager Mona Blades 38 years ago.
Police have been told the vehicle is an orange Datsun, the same make and colour of a vehicle in which 18-year-old hitchhiker Miss Blades was thought to have been given a ride while on her way home from Hamilton to Hastings on the Queen's Birthday Weekend of 1975.
That vehicle was described at the time as an orange Datsun 120Y station wagon and as part of one of the largest hunts by police in New Zealand, every known vehicle of its type was inspected.
Police combed the area between Taupo and Napier, but failed to find any trace of the young woman, apart from reports that she'd been seen with the vehicle and its driver on the Napier-Taupo highway.
The Rotorua Daily Post newspaper yesterday quoted Bay of Plenty police officer Detective Inspector Mark Roper as confirming a hunter had reported spotting an abandoned vehicle in the Rangitaiki Forest near Taupo and that police planned to visit the scene.