Faizal Kalim spent years looking for his "little angel", hiring a private investigator and continuing to pay child support - but now he is devastated knowing his daughter was killed and her remains buried alongside her mother's in an Auckland swamp.
Mr Kalim lost touch with his daughter Juwairiyah, known as Jojo, when his estranged wife, Mubarek Yusef, known as Pakeeza Faizal, left him nearly a decade ago.
Although he did not have custody of his daughter, the barbershop owner never thought it would be tragedy keeping him from seeing his little girl again.
On Sunday, he was given no choice but to face that reality. Police informed him of the discovery of Jojo and her mother's skeletal remains in a muddy creek under the Takapuna overbridge near Rosmini College.
Mr Kalim expressed his anguish on Facebook, asking, "Why would somebody kill [an] angel like that?"
A 40-year-old Auckland man was charged with both their murders - which police believe occurred between December 2006 and early 2007 in a Howick home where the victims were living - and appeared at Manukau District Court yesterday.
His identity, with that of a 64-year-old male acquaintance accused of being an accessory after the fact, was suppressed. Both were remanded in custody.
Jojo would have been about 3 when she was killed, and her mother about 25.
Mr Kalim was devastated to be told of the police's discovery, and that the last time he would get to see his daughter she would be dead.
He was being comforted by family yesterday and was not at his Glendowie home.
A sign posted on the door of his business, The Barber's Room, on Dominion Rd in Mt Eden, read:
"Dear Customers, Due to the recent discovery of my daughter's death the shop will be closed for the next 2 days. Thanks and regards, Faizal."
Mr Kalim's brother, Irshad Kalim, told the Herald the police's discovery had been hard on his brother.
Photo / Greg Bowker
"He's broken. We don't really know how to handle it at the moment. It's been a very long time. We haven't seen her since she was about 3 or 4 and then about a year later my brother started looking for her and just couldn't find her.
"She was a cute girl. She was very close to the family so I don't really know what to say. At the moment it's still pretty much a shock, up until [Sunday] we all had that hope that she would be alive."
Ms Faizal grew up in Auckland where she met Faizal Kalim.
The Fiji-Indian couple were married for about five years before the relationship dissolved, Irshad Kalim said.
"They had issues with their marriage, she split up and just disappeared and took the baby and didn't want anyone to know where she was.
"It was hard for him, she just did it and didn't tell our family and her family. No one knew where she was.
"After she left we didn't know where she was or who she was living with. The only person who knew, I think, was her mother. She wasn't even talking to her own family, so we didn't know."
Mubarek Yusef and Jojo.
When a rumour surfaced that she had moved to Australia with Jojo, his brother hired a private investigator to find his daughter. "We'd been looking for her for the last six years ... nobody could find her.
"He was paying child support for the girl, so you'd think someone was claiming the child support. You don't think these awful things."
Ms Faizal's mother also grew concerned, and it was her approach to police in January 2013 that prompted their investigation.
The families had been in contact with each other since police told them of the grisly discovery and were yet to make funeral arrangements.
Police had told them the identities of the murder accused, but Irshad Kalim said they had never met him.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch would not reveal details of the relationship between the murder accused and the victims, but confirmed they were known to each other. He also would not be drawn on how police were led to the bodies, but said they were found on Saturday and due to the difficult terrain it could take some time to recover them.
A team of about a dozen search specialists, ESR units and pathologists were still at the site yesterday.
Mr Lynch said no one was collecting the child support Mr Kalim paid.
- additional reporting Sophie Ryan and Sam Boyer