Flowers mark spot where young life lost

A bouquet of flowers sits near the scene where Ocean Heke was found dead early on Sunday morning. Photo /  Alan Gibson
A bouquet of flowers sits near the scene where Ocean Heke was found dead early on Sunday morning. Photo / Alan Gibson

Flowers lie close to tyre tracks by the side of the Waikato road where 17-year-old Ocean Heke was found dead two days ago.

The teen was found in the early hours of Sunday morning by passers-by on Main North Rd in Otorohanga.

It is believed she had been struck by a car while walking home from a friend's 18th birthday party.

Today, normality has returned to the rural road.

Milk tankers and cars drive noisily up and down the main arterial route as they always have done.

But along the stretch is a reminder of the young life lost there.

Bunches of flowers have been placed at the spot where Ocean was found, along with a letter to the young girl.

Occasionally people stop, get out of their cars and quietly observe the scene.

Dotted along the pathway and the grassy verge are yellow markers placed by police during the scene examination.

Further down the road, more marks highlight vague tyre tracks and the possible path a vehicle may have taken.

Now questions remain about what happened to the young girl known fondly by family and friends as Lovey.

A police investigation into her death is ongoing, however, police said yesterday a vehicle had been found in relation to the incident.

Today, Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson revealed that car was a dark blue Honda.

"We believe there was only one vehicle involved. A dark-coloured car had crashed into the fence outside Freight Lines. We believed it is linked to the accident in which Ocean lost her life."

He said an examination of the vehicle was still under way.

"We are hoping to have the examination of the car completed today and that will give us some indication of where we are going with our inquiry. We are still speaking to witnesses."

Two residents on the busy highway said they had witnessed a dark-coloured car crash into a fence in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Resident Katrina Quinn said she had been woken up by the crash and had looked out of her bedroom window to see what had happened.

"I went to the front door and saw a man getting out of the car so I came back in to wake up my husband and by the time we went back out there was no one at the car.

"We then walked out to the top of the driveway to see if we could see somebody and there was someone there already ringing the police."

Ms Quinn said she too rang the police to inform them of the crash.

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said he had been outside just half an hour before the crash.

"There were no screams, no noise, just the sound of a thud and scraping of metal under the car. It just happened so quickly," he said.

"It was silence after that."

The man had been drifting into sleep when he heard what sounded like a car crash.

"I looked around but there was nothing I could see outside of my bedroom window.

"It makes you sick to the gut thinking that if I had gone outside half an hour later and saw a body I would have rung 111."

Many of the residents are still shaken by the incident as is the whole town.

Things may look normal but stark reminders that something tragic has happened here remain.

- NZ Herald

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