Teen arrested over Te Atatu murder of Cun Xiu Tian

Cunxiu Tian was found deceased at her home in Te Atatu. Photo / Supplied
Cunxiu Tian was found deceased at her home in Te Atatu. Photo / Supplied

A teenager has been arrested and charged with murdering Te Atatu woman Cun Xiu Tian.

Waitemata Police say a 19-year-old Te Atatu man is in custody and will appear in Waitakere District Court this morning charged with murder and two counts of sexual violation.

All charges are for alleged offending against Mrs Tian.

"I know that the arrest will bring some relief to the Te Atatu and wider community and we'd like to thank the public for their support and assistance over the past six days," said Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small.

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The family of Mrs Tian, 69, have been advised of the arrest and are being supported by Police and Victim Support.

Police at the scene of the crime. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police at the scene of the crime. Photo / Dean Purcell

Ms Tian was found beaten and bloodied in her Glenvil Lane home on Friday by her daughter and son-in-law when they arrived back from work shortly after 5pm.

Police have said the attack - which was not heard by any neighbours - was violent and prolonged, and Ms Tian was struck multiple times around her head and face.

Police brought in criminal profilers as they tried to find who was responsible for the horrific death and said yesterday they were seeking sightings of a man in a white and green tracksuit.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Nepal, was manned by 25 investigators and additional staff.

Last night hundreds of Te Atatu residents came together in a vigil and silent walk of remembrance for Mrs Tian.

Family and friends gathered for a small vigil in Te Atatu. Photo / Greg Bowker
Family and friends gathered for a small vigil in Te Atatu. Photo / Greg Bowker

Mourners carrying flowers and bouquets, lit candles and said prayers for her at Te Atatu Baptist Church. After a moment's silence, police led the crowd in a silent walk to Ms Tian's house on Glenvil Lane, where they laid flowers.

The local community has been on edge since the killing, with some saying they were afraid to go out of the house and others concerned about friends and neighbours who stay in their homes during the day by themselves.

At last night's vigil, people talked of how neighbours had come together, offering to check on each other and providing phone numbers.

Police had advised people in the neighbourhood to examine the exterior of their properties for footprints and to check doors and windows - and if they noticed anything untoward to contact police immediately.

Residents were also asked to think about whether they had seen anyone suspicious in the area recently.

"I appreciate this is a frightening ordeal for the Te Atatu community and I think it's important that people are always conscious of their personal safety," Mr Small said earlier this week. "I ask everybody to be vigilant about that, and I assure you that police are doing everything we can to identify this offender and bring him to justice."

Flowers and cards are placed at the scene. Photo / Dean Purcell
Flowers and cards are placed at the scene. Photo / Dean Purcell

Earlier today the family of Ms Tian released a statement thanking the public for their support.

"We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to the entire Te Atatu community for their support in our time of grief," the family said.

"Last night's vigil for our Mum was very much appreciated and we are very humbled to know that so many people are thinking of our family.

"To everyone in Te Atatu and beyond who has put us in their thoughts and prayers, thank you, we really really appreciate it."

Police said they appreciated that tonight's arrest would generate widespread interest, but were unable to provide further information now the matter was now before the courts.

- NZ Herald

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