Bound and gagged woman in Papatoetoe 'causing concern' - doctors

By Ben Hill, Morgan Tait, Regan Schoultz, Vaimoana Tapalea

'She couldn't talk. Her nose was bleeding and she was frothing from her mouth'

A gagged and bound woman who jumped from a moving car - sparking a major manhunt in Auckland - is in a critical condition and "causing concern", doctors say.

A health board spokeswoman said the woman, who was found bleeding and frothing at the mouth after the incident on Huia Rd, near the corner of East Tamaki Rd, Papatoetoe, was being treated at Middlemore Hospital.

Manukau Police say they will be releasing an update on the Papatoetoe incident later this morning.

Until then there would be no further comment.

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Police have started searching the Papatoetoe neighbourhood from the air.

The black Eagle helicopter is hovering over Huia Rd taking aerial photographs of the scene.

The cordon has now been removed.

Huia Rd resident Jay Shah said he was bringing in his rubbish bins when the car sped past about 7pm.

Police have a large area around Huia Road, East Tamaki blocked off. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police have a large area around Huia Road, East Tamaki blocked off. Photo / Dean Purcell

Its boot popped open and the woman - who was tied around her neck, legs and arms - fell on to the road.

"I was getting the rubbish bins back into the house and I saw someone jump out of the boot of the car," Mr Shah said.

"When I saw the body fall out of the boot, I ran towards the body to make sure everything was all right. I thought she was about to die.

"She had a metal rod next to her ... so I think she used the metal rod to jack open the boot and then jump out.

"Her legs were tied and her hands were tied up and she was strangled around the neck with cloth strips."

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The woman was Asian and in her late 30s to early 40s, he guessed.

She appeared to be frothing at the mouth.

Mr Shah told the Herald he could see bruises on her hands and wrists, where she was tied.

"I untied the tie around her neck so that she could breathe and by that time, a few others came and they helped me get other strips of cloth off her neck as well," he said. "She couldn't talk. Her nose was bleeding and she was frothing from her mouth."

The car kept driving, he said.

Police have a large area around Huia Road, East Tamaki blocked off after an incident. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police have a large area around Huia Road, East Tamaki blocked off after an incident. Photo / Dean Purcell

Another resident, Apoorva Nayak, said she was outside playing with her son when she heard her friend say "oh sh*t" and race out of the driveway.

"I went to the scene with my son and [the woman] was lying in the floor and foaming from the mouth.

"From a distance it looked like her waist was bound and she was trying to free her hands.

"There was a man there who was quite efficient and he stopped all the traffic and helped her.

"The woman in the car behind the vehicle that the woman jumped out of called the police and ambulance. She was quite shaken up and trembling."

She said within 10 minutes police were at the scene.

"She looked like she was pretty beaten up. You see this in movies, you don't see it in real life."

Resident, Guri Singh, said he was unsure what had happened.

"At first we thought there was an accident here but we don't know what has happened."

Yesterday East Tamaki Rd was cordoned off to the Southern Motorway and officers were posted at intersections, turning residents away.

A police spokeswoman said it was believed the woman was thrown from a silver sedan.

Asked about the silver sedan, in which the woman had escaped from, Mr Shah said it continued speeding down Huia Rd and towards Motatau Rd.

He did not think the driver realised the woman had managed to free herself from the boot.

The vehicle following immediately behind the car also stopped to help. The female driver in that car called emergency services.

Josie Deane, who lives in the area said she had been mowing her lawns when she saw police outside her home.

She said she didn't see what had happened however a neighbour had told her that she had seen a woman fall out of a car boot with her hands and feet bound and a bloody face.

Concerned residents gathered around the scene. Photo / Dean Purcell
Concerned residents gathered around the scene. Photo / Dean Purcell

She said a couple had been driving behind the vehicle and had seen the incident unfold in front of them.

Ms Deane said it was shocking and "makes you think twice".

A crowd of concerned neighbours had gathered on the corner of East Tamaki Rd and Huia Rd.

Varun Saini of Papatoetoe said he'd never seen anything like it in the suburb.

"It's pretty scary, nobody knows what's going on here."

A police statement told the public there was no thoroughfare to the on- and off-ramps to the motorway, from the western side of East Tamaki Rd.

A worker at the Z petrol station at Hunters Corner, who did not wish to be named, said police told him to stay indoors.

He said the officers would not tell him what was happening.

"The cops aren't telling us anything. No one knows what's going on here. All the roads are blocked and there is major [amounts of] cops here - it seems like 100.

"They are not letting us go outside."

There was a heavy police presence in Papatoetoe yesterday. Photo / Daniel Hines
There was a heavy police presence in Papatoetoe yesterday. Photo / Daniel Hines

A woman at another nearby business said she was told by a customer that the incident involved a car crash, but she was not sure of other details.

Ash Naicker lives on the corner of East Tamaki and Huia Rd.

"This place has lots of accidents, there's one here every week, it seems," she said.

"We don't know what's happened, we have no idea.

"If something's happened we should know about it. It would be some relief."

There is no confirmation of any arrests in the hunt for the driver of the silver sedan, but police are seeking any information from the public.

Any information can be reported to the Counties-Manukau police on (09) 261 1300 or via tipline Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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