Cheryl Rush has all but lost hope that her cousin, 45-year-old Traceza Urlich, will be found alive more than two months since she was last seen.
Ms Rush said that if her bank account had not been touched she would have no doubt that she was dead.
According to police Ms Urlich, who lives in Kaitaia, was last seen hitching south from Awanui on February 4, but Ms Rush said she had arrived at her home in Kaeo that day. She had a shower, changed her clothes, had something to eat and left, heading south. That was the last her family had seen or heard of her.
It was not like her not to keep in regular contact. She lived on her benefit week by week, so failing to draw money from her bank account would be a bad sign.
"I think she's dead," Mrs Rush said on Friday. "I think she got into the wrong car."
She had been told a woman's body had been found in the Ahipara gumfields, but doubted that was true. The police confirmed there had been no such find.
Acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Wihongi said last month that police had completed usual missing person checks, looked for Ms Urlich in and around Kaitaia, and called for sightings via the Northland Police Facebook page. That had sparked concerns about her welfare, but no concrete information.
"She's a friendly soul and quite distinctive, so she's well known around Kaitaia," she said.
Police say she was wearing a bright yellow jacket and black three-quarter-length pants when last seen. Anyone with information is urged to contact acting Sergeant Elton Braithwaite at the Kaitaia police station, phone (09) 408-6500.