Grisly discovery in Waikato manhunt: Police reveal trio died several days ago

A hearse has arrived to take away the bodies of an elderly couple found dead alongside wanted man Ross Bremner.

Bremner's body was taken away this afternoon from the property in Kinohaku - a tiny coastal community in the Waitomo District - as was the Holden Vectra Bremner he is believed to have driven there.

Police were hunting the 34-year-old in connection with the stabbing death of his mother Clare, 60, on Tuesday night at their home in Otorohanga, about 65km east of Kinohaku.

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Bremner's father, Keith, 64, was critically injured in the attack and remains in Waikato Hospital.

The bodies of Bremner, and couple Mona Tuwhangai and Maurice O'Donnell, both in their 80s, who police said were not related to him, were then discovered last night in the Kinohaku cottage by a visitor.

Police believed the trio died several days ago and that Bremner may not have known the couple.

About 25 family and friends have been coming and going from the scene on Kawhia Harbour Rd.

They are understood to be planning a karakia at the property before the bodies of their loved ones are removed.

When Bremner's body was removed in a hearse, the group turned their backs on the vehicle, linking arms in solidarity and silent protest.

Earlier, they appeared to have a briefing with Western Waikato Area Commander, Inspector Naila Hassan.

Family members sat on the ground, with blankets over their laps, hugging each other.

A woman was seen putting flowers at the gate.

A hearse arrives at the property. Photo / Supplied
A hearse arrives at the property. Photo / Supplied

Detectives and police in blue boiler suits appeared to conclude the scene examination, which was been taking place all day.

About 25 vehicles line the narrow curved coastal road where the bodies were found. They belong to uniformed police, detectives, forensic staff, family of the deceased, and media.

About midday, a large police truck and portable toilets arrived as police continued to examine the scene.

Police were seen leading horses on the property.

A local Fieldays sporting event scheduled for today was cancelled out of respect for the dead.

The granddaughter of the woman who found the bodies said family are going to visit her nana today.

"She's doing well, she's a bit shaken up."

Earlier a neighbour said that the elderly couple were "lovely, bubbly people who enjoyed darts and tennis".

Waitomo darts club member Sharon Te Ngare said the couple should have been at the King Country Area Darts meet today.

The scene in Taharoa where three bodies were discovered. Photo / Alan Gibson
The scene in Taharoa where three bodies were discovered. Photo / Alan Gibson

"They're lovely, they were really lovely. They retired from darts but still came in to support us."

Te Ngare, who has known the couple for 20 years, said the woman had just had her 80th birthday and her husband was a little bit older. She said the woman used a walking frame to get around and her husband was an area manager for the Clubs New Zealand Darts Association.

She didn't think the couple had any children of their own but they had raised a girl who is now in her 30s.

Ross Bremner was wanted in connection with the stabbing death of his mother on Tuesday night in Otorohanga and last night three people were found dead near Taharoa. Photo / Google Maps
Ross Bremner was wanted in connection with the stabbing death of his mother on Tuesday night in Otorohanga and last night three people were found dead near Taharoa. Photo / Google Maps

Neighbour Allan Smith said the man and woman who died in their cottage were a loving husband and wife and their demise has sent shock waves through the tiny community.

Smith, a farmer in the coastal settlement south of Kawhia, said he grew up with the dead woman.

Another neighbour on Kawhia Harbour Rd raised the alarm last night after she visited the couple, who also spent time in Te Kuiti.

Smith said another neighbour phoned him around midnight as news of the tragedy spread.

"It was an absolute shock last night and it was quite scary."

Ross Bremner. Photo / via Police
Ross Bremner. Photo / via Police

Smith said the dead woman was a well-respected member of the community who came from a "full of fun" family.

"They were a bubbly family. They were a sporting family, good at tennis."

Smith said everyone was coping as best they could.

He said the strength in small communities was that everyone pulled together in such difficult times.

Keith Bremner is in Waikato hospital after a stabbing in Otorohanga. He is pictured here with daughter Loren, and wife Clare, who was killed in the attack. Photo / via Facebook
Keith Bremner is in Waikato hospital after a stabbing in Otorohanga. He is pictured here with daughter Loren, and wife Clare, who was killed in the attack. Photo / via Facebook

Hassan said the three deaths were an "utterly tragic outcome".

"Our priority now is to establish the full timeline and circumstances of what has taken place.

"I know the community will be in a state of shock about what has occurred here."

Asked if she believed police could have done anything differently to prevent the three deaths, Hassan said she believed police had attended to priorities in the right order.

Asked if police were ill informed about Bremner's mental state as they told the public not to fear for their safety after the Otorohanga stabbing, Hassan said police had "gathered information" as they went through the investigation.

"As we go through the investigation our response might change during that time."

She also said she was "absolutely confident" with the police's investigation and denied they didn't work fast enough.

Bremner's parents had just become grandparents for the first time. His mother had told friends her son had been in a dark place recently and his parents feared what he might do.

- NZ Herald

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