Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Missing woman to be declared dead at coroner's inquest today

Kaye Stewart. Photo / Supplied
Kaye Stewart. Photo / Supplied

A woman who disappeared in the Rimutakas eight years ago will be officially declared dead at a coroner's inquest today.

Former All Blacks physiotherapist Kaye Stewart, 62, was last seen in the Rimutaka Forest Park on June 13, 2005. After dropping her daughter off at a meeting that morning, she decided to go for a walk before returning to pick her up.

Mrs Stewart was seen parking her car at 11am and then asked a Department of Conservation worker for directions back to her car at 1pm.

She was never seen again and despite extensive searches of the park - by both police and her family over the years - no trace of her has been found.

In the Wellington District Court today her family will gather to hear Coroner Garry Evans make a ruling on Mrs Stewart's disappearance and inevitable death.

Her husband Bob told the Herald that the family could not rest until Mrs Stewart's body was found.

"It's an enormous insult to her and our daughters that she is out there somewhere unknown, when she shouldn't be," he said.

Mr Stewart, now 80, says it never gets easier coping without his best mate. "The hardest thing is the loss of a person you valued so much.

"Even now, little things creep back into your memory and just bring tears to your eyes immediately.

"It doesn't go away, I don't know if it ever will."

Today Mr Stewart and Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Sears, the officer in charge of the investigation into the 2005 disappearance, retrace Mrs Stewart's last steps and reveal what they think happened to the grandmother of three and how the public can still help.

Read more:

Family desperate for answers to 8-year mystery
Legally dead - how the law makes its decision

- NZ Herald

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