Autopsy for Carmen 'could take days'

By Andrew Koubaridis

Carmen Thomas. Photo / Greg Bowker
Carmen Thomas. Photo / Greg Bowker

The family of slain Auckland mother Carmen Thomas could wait days to hear how she died and for her remains to be returned to them.

Police yesterday said a post-mortem examination could take days to complete. Ms Thomas was found in concrete inside plastic containers in dense bush in the Waitakere Ranges, west of Auckland, on Friday.

The discovery of the burial site was the latest development in an investigation that began when the escort was reported missing on July 13.

Inquiry chief Detective Inspector Mark Benefield said the find confirmed the police's belief that Ms Thomas had been dismembered.

Police allege her former partner Brad Callaghan, father of her 5-year-old son Jack, killed her in her Remuera home on June 29. He is in custody, and is due to reappear in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday next week.

Ms Thomas' remains were taken away by a hearse on Saturday. Yesterday, police remained at the burial site, which they have called a "crude grave", seeking further evidence.

It is about 2km from the Arataki Visitors Centre on Scenic Drive.

Only after the autopsy is completed will the 32-year-old's body be released to her family.

Her mother, Teresa Scott, is understood to be coming to New Zealand, helped by donations from a Facebook site to pay for her airfare from South Africa.

Friends in Auckland and in Britain are planning memorial services but it's understood Ms Thomas' funeral will be in South Africa, where she is from.

Callaghan's mother declined to speak to the Herald last night and neighbours at his Sonia Ave, Remuera, house said his fiancee, Tanith Butler, had moved out.

She gave birth to his son a week ago.

An associate of Callaghan who has name suppression has also not returned to his home.

Mr Benefield has said information was received last week that led detectives to Ms Thomas' remains.

- additional reporting: Vaimoana Tapaleao, NZPA

- NZ Herald

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