Sandra Lundon Rosolowski died in May. There was no death notice, nor a funeral. She died in a house she had paid for and called home, but somehow didn't own.
The 75-year-old was the initial complainant over an alleged mortgage and investment fraud that earlier this year saw the Serious Fraud Office search a number of properties across Auckland connected to Peters Property Holdings.
Sandra's last few years were spent struggling with increasing memory problems. She was also weighed down trying to manage a suddenly precarious financial position.
Notes scribbled on to Post-it squares, the backs of envelopes and pamphlets - most about her dealings with brothers Gerard and Chris Peters, who are understood to be the central figures of interest in the SFO investigation - were deposited in drawers and cupboards, even beneath the kitchen sink and in biscuit tins, throughout that house on Woodlands Crescent.
Questions directed to Gerard - who is said to have been overseas since 2019 - went unanswered. Chris would only say, "Sandra was a strong woman and beautiful spirit," but declined to address complaints she made about him and his brother to police in order to "respect her memory".
Prior to her 2017 move into the last property she would live in, Sandra is understood to have had around $1 million in home equity in a mortgage-free home in Torbay and $300,000 in the bank.
She died with the property she called home saddled with a $1.1m mortgage - the whereabouts of the proceeds of this loan remains an open question, with the trail leading offshore via the Peters - and her name not even on the title.
Her estate is said by her son to have been left near-penniless.
A Herald on Sunday investigation into her life, and the crippling property deal and alleged fraud that was all-consuming at its end, has found a complicated life full of white lies, stubbornness and secrets.
Sandra died, much as she lived, alone.
And it is not clear exactly when she passed.
After not being seen or heard from for several days, emergency services were called to her flat down a steep shared driveway off Woodlands Crescent on Wednesday, May 19. The previous Friday, May 14, she had failed to answer messages or calls from the Herald on Sunday seeking comment on positive developments in her case.
Barney Cornaga, a real estate agent who has helped Sandra buy or sell four properties over the decades - but not the one on Woodlands Crescent - described Sandra as a "client who became a friend" and had tried calling her over the weekend.
"I rang her up, no reply. Rang her the next day. No reply. Then I rang the police - they didn't want to know. The next day I went back and knocked on the door and I could smell something," he says.
Her neighbours had also noticed the smell. Eventually, emergency services kicked in the door and made their grisly find in the upstairs bedroom. Later, commercial forensic cleaners wearing gas masks had to be deployed.
Authorities are saying little, but are understood to currently place the time of death as somewhere between Thursday, May 13, and Wednesday, May 19.
Police, aside from noting the death is not being treated as suspicious, would only say it is now with the coroner. The coroner's office would only say "there is nothing further that can be said in the case as it is still active". The Serious Fraud Office noted similar restrictions - "an ongoing investigation under way that relates to this matter" - in similarly declining comment.
In the months before her death, Sandra had seemed perky and talkative, wading into Browns Bay daily for a swim of sorts. She had picked her present home in large part as it gave her an extensive garden to tend.
But she also had ongoing issues with epilepsy - friends pleaded with her to more regularly take her medication - and seizures saw her regularly fall. The condition also seemed to have led to a recent car crash causing tens of thousands of dollars of property damage and the court-ordered cancellation of her driver's licence.
Born in Auckland in 1945, Sandra moved to the United States with her husband, Neil Rosolowski, in the 1970s and lived for a time in both San Francisco and Salt Lake City. Despite having left the US four decades prior, she still kept mementoes of her time there scattered around the house and in her wallets.
Earlier this year Sandra told the Herald on Sunday she had returned to New Zealand in 1978 as a pregnant widow following the death of her husband.
This untimely death, however, was news to the son born of that pregnancy, Tyler Rosolowski. He recalls getting a letter when he turned 16 from the birth father he never met.
"He left to go back to America and get his things - and basically never came back, met someone else and had kids - but never married."
Tyler is an only child and open about having a fractious relationship with his mother. He had not talked with her for a year when two police officers knocked on his door early on the evening of Wednesday, May 19.
"I kind of didn't believe them at first," he says. "I took until Monday to get myself organised, partly from not wanting to confront the reality of what happened."
A month or so after the death, Tyler is now living in that Woodlands Crescent house. But with the finding of no fewer than five undated wills, ongoing questions over the property's ownership, and it saddled with a million-dollar mortgage now in default, he is unsure for how long.
He works in IT, and largely keeps a lid on his grief until he discusses feeling pressured to agree to a quick processing of his mother's body.
He only received her ashes two days ago, six weeks - possibly seven - after her death.
Tyler says Sandra was distant from her own family and also from him. She kicked him out of home when he turned 16 and the pair spent a long time - a decade at least - not talking at all.
Eventually, he gritted his teeth and re-established a relationship with his mother. He treated these first visits "like a retail job: using my positive voice, and smiling no matter even if she tried to trigger me".
Over time, the visits stopped seeming like a chore, he says. "I found myself spending hours talking to her, and found I actually enjoyed it."
But then came that 2017 property deal with the Peters, a moment Tyler calls "an intersection" where he had to decide whether to risk arguing over the arrangement and rupturing the fragile relationship with his mother.
"It's her money: she's older than me, wiser than me," he recalls thinking.
"Although this was at the stage where she was only risking 10 per cent of her net wealth, not - as it turns out - all of it," he claimed.
And, as it turns out, when the deal allegedly soured, Sandra retreated further and Tyler again found himself on the outer.
It took Tyler weeks to gather the courage to climb the stairs to what used to be his mother's bedroom. Cleaners had flooded the place with disinfecting ozone. Carpets and drapes, sheets and the mattress, even the bedside tables, had been torn up and out and carted away for incineration. That bedroom is now just a rough shell with exposed floor and skirting boards.
The only thing left by the cleaners was a lockbox that contained more questions than treasures: bank statements from the 1990s, loyalty cards for US department store Macy's, more loyalty cards, long-expired passports.
It's fallen to Tyler to try and piece together the fragments of the life of a woman who had at the end seemed adrift.
"She was a prolific note-taker and terrible filer. Every single cupboard and drawer had notes hidden in them. I found notes in every room for that property deal," he says.
"I have learned more about my mum in the past few weeks than I had ever known. I felt that in a lot of ways her life was spent alone."
It is possible to unravel some mysteries from the confetti of notes and mementoes Rosolowski deposited like sediment. In the pantry was evidence she was, in May 2019, having a relationship with a man named Victor Cornaga.
Companies Office records show this is the legal name of the real estate agent otherwise known as Barney. Another of Sandra's notes, undated, shows Cornaga appeared to have also been borrowing money from her and at one time owed "almost 3k".
Interviewed again, Cornaga acknowledged she was more than a "client who became a friend".
He admitted borrowing money, saying it was to cover his rent. "I wasn't selling," he says. The outstanding loan had become a sore point between them, he says, but claimed it had been fully repaid.
Cornaga at first issued a shocked denial over a sexual relationship with Sandra when confronted with how the evidence had ended up in Sandra's pantry. "No idea," he said.
This denial quickly crumbled and soon Cornaga confessed in a torrent. "Oh, dear. It wasn't very often," he said.
They had begun a sexual relationship years ago, meeting around once a month, he says. "She really loved me, and really wanted me to come around more often. The last time she rang I turned her down. That would have been two weeks before she died."
The ramifications of the affair - both personal and professional - soon began to dawn on Cornaga, who is in a relationship. "This doesn't look good for me, does it?" he asks.
According to Sandra's formal complaint to police, Cornaga was also the one who first introduced her to Chris and Gerard Peters. The agent says it was less a formal introduction than allowing the Peters, as prospective bidder, to negotiate over a property Sandra was selling, but he despairs over what transpired.
"Those bloody Peters boys. That house in Torbay was mortgage-free. And I had an offer of $980k, but she went with the Peters deal and it was more and he was promising her the earth," he says.
"That's how she got trapped," he believes.
AHerald on Sunday investigation earlier this year sketched out a handful of Auckland properties - of which Sandra's was one - involved in deals with Peters Property Holdings that had seen sales to related-party entities and extensive mortgage financing. In return came alleged promises of dividends from lucrative offshore investments, and a reversion to debt-free ownership after five years.
Problems quickly became apparent as promised dividends stopped arriving and banks began initiating mortgagee sales as loans fell into arrears.
Sandra was the first to complain to police. An investigation was opened, dragging on for more than a year before it was referred to the SFO.
Sandra's property is now owned by SLR Holdings, a company set up by the mother of Chris and Gerard. Around the time the deal was done, a range of changes to directors and shareholders took place, including listing both Chris and Gerard.
After the dust settled, the Companies Office records Jatinder Bhachu as SLR Holdings sole shareholder and director.
Bhachu, a young IT professional, says he was sold by the Peters on the alleged scheme as a way to get his foot on the property ladder. He has claimed his involvement was limited to signing property and mortgage documents largely at the direction of Chris Peters.
He now finds himself liable for a $1.1m mortgage on Sandra's property he says he is unable to pay. He is also on the hook for an over-mortgaged North Shore apartment also allegedly obtained with the assistance of the Peters.
But Bhachu says it was more than two years into these deals, after a 2019 call from police, that he was even made aware of Sandra's existence.
"It was only then I clicked when I saw her name on a form. I didn't know what SLR stood for, I thought it was something they made up. It started to fall into place and I worked out she was living there," Bhachu recalls.
He liaised with Sandra's lawyer to try to prevent BNZ foreclosing and making her homeless, and towards the end of last year took a deep breath and travelled to Woodlands Crescent to apologise.
"I kind of took a bullet and went to see Sandra. She could have shut the door on me, but she was quite nice," he says. He, too, noticed her problems with memory.
The BNZ has recently got in touch and said the mortgage across Sandra's former property has now been transferred to their loan management team. "It's going to go into debt recovery," Bhachu says.
For their part, a spokesperson for the bank says of the potential for a mortgagee sale: "No decision has been made and we continue to work with relevant authorities to resolve this matter."
Other investors claiming to be short millions in the Peters' investment schemes are understood to be mulling High Court action. The Serious Fraud Office investigation rumbles on, but they note they aren't in the business of resolving "property ownership issues".
Tyler Rosolowski is still at the house where Sandra died. He's hopeful of arranging a memorial service next month for the handful of people that knew her and has constructed a shrine of sorts in the living room.
A white urn is framed by fresh flowers and pictures from Sandra's youth. Tyler is struggling to piece together both the fractured pieces of his estranged mother's life and come to grips with what has happened.
Tyler doesn't blame the property deal for his mother's death, "but her last days were certainly not filled with happiness because of it".