Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Residents reeling from news of baby's death

Police at the home where the three-month-old baby lived on 19th Ave, Tauranga. Photo / George Novak
Police at the home where the three-month-old baby lived on 19th Ave, Tauranga. Photo / George Novak

Shocked 19th Avenue residents are still reeling from the tragic news of a 3-month-old Tauranga boy's death as police continue with their homicide inquiry.

The baby boy died in Tauranga Hospital on Tuesday after being brought in by his mother.

When the Bay of Plenty Times revisited the property yesterday and spoke to a number of residents in the street, most said they were shocked and upset by the news.

"We still don't know what really happened but it must have been serious for police to have launched a homicide inquiry," one resident said.

A long-term resident, who did not want to be named, said she had seen the mother coming and going from the address for several months, including while she was pregnant.

The occupants of the house tended to keep to themselves, she said.

"I've seen lots of comings and goings from this address, and I used to see them taking three little boys, all aged under 5, to daycare."

The woman said police had canvassed everyone in the street and she and the other residents were asked to make a written statement about their movements and what they had seen and heard.

"The police officer asked what I was doing around 8pm the night before the baby died but did not say why that particular time was important to their inquiries. When I learned of the baby's death I was really upset and so was my friend. It's devastating news. Poor little mite. The child would hardly have been off his mother's nipple," she said.

Another resident said she had only became aware of something happening at the address when she saw police tape blocking entry to the property.

"It's very sad. I have a young child myself."

Two women were seen leaving the address in question yesterday after loading two cars with items carried from the house, including several child-related items. They declined to comment.

A police officer also at the property told the Bay of Plenty Times the family wanted to be left alone.

A post-mortem examination was expected to be carried out yesterday, but the police have not yet released the cause of the baby's death or his identity.

The Bay of Plenty Times made a number of requests for information yesterday. However, a police spokesperson would not provide any more information saying the inquiry was still ongoing and not all of the next of kin had been informed of the baby's death.

- NZ Herald

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