Police are adamant more people will know about the suspicious disappearance of Bridget Simmonds after discovering the remains of a body believed to be that of the Northland mother, who has been missing for more than a year.
The remains of a body were found on Thursday night and while the formal identification process had not been completed, police said believed it was the body of the 42-year-old woman was last seen at Countdown on February 23 and was reported missing on March 6, 2019, after all communication with her family stopped.
An excavator was being used to remove the remains and the work was expected to continue into last night until the job was complete. A post mortem examination was expected to be completed over the weekend.
Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton said pieces of the puzzle were still missing and urged those who may have more information about the death to come forward and contact police.
"I'm adamant there's other people out there that know what happened to Bridget, and we certainly want to hear from them," he said.
"Of course this news is a tragedy for Bridget's family and our heartfelt sympathies go out to them. Bridget was a loved mum, sister, daughter, and friend to many people. We've been offering support to Bridget's family and will continue to do so."
Clayton also revealed an arrest had been made for assault and further charges were not being ruled out but could not comment further as the matter was before the court.
A 57-year-old Northland man appeared in the Whangārei District Court before Judge Brandt Shortland, who granted the man interim name suppression yesterday.He faced a charge of possession of cannabis on June 9 and a second charge of wounding a woman with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on February 14, 2019.
The man, who was represented by Wiremu Puriri, was remanded in custody without plea to June 22.
Clayton said it was unlikely there would be any further arrests and police were comfortable with the person they had been speaking with and who has been helping them.
Police converged on a 20ha block of land on Wilson Rd, Parakao, 40km west of Whangārei on Wednesday after new information came to light which caused investigators to believe foul play was involved in the disappearance of the mother of two.
The massive police contingent consisted of a specialist search team from Auckland, the Wellington-based dive squad, Environmental Science and Research staff, a cadaver dog and handler plus Northland police detectives and the Northland Search and Rescue team.
Clayton said it was understood Simmonds travelled to the property by taxi. The information was recent but he would not confirm where the property was or where the body was located on the property.
Police had found other items of interest during their extensive search at the property but would not say what those were.
Asked if it was known when Simmonds died, he said he wouldn't go into details about that.
"It's been a long investigation ... we've had a lot of information from the public. Some of the leads have been very useful. It's been an accumulation of information that has led us to this point," Clayton said.
Simmonds' mother, who did not want to be named for security reasons, told the Northern Advocate this week her daughter's disappearance was hard for all of the family and it was like living a recurring nightmare.
"I'm hoping they find something ... I don't believe after all this time she is still alive, that's my feeling," she said.
"I hope police can get some answers because for me this is constant. It's like you are living it over and over every day and there's no end to it. It would be a relief to find her so this can come to an end and we can move forward."
Police have now made a direct phone line available for people to call with information that may help the case.
They were particularly interested in speaking to a member of the public who contacted Crimestoppers after seeing the last appeal for information on March 10.
Police have made a direct phone line available for people to call with information that may help the case.
Anyone with information is urged to call (09) 430 4555. All calls will be treated in confidence.
The phone line will be manned 8am-5pm Monday to Friday, and anyone who calls outside those hours can phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.