An old neighbour of Lee Sabine -- the New Zealand-born woman suspected of killing her husband 18 years ago -- said she doted on his baby daughter and even offered to make her first birthday cake.
But she refused to go to the little girl's birthday party, saying it was too hard for her to watch as she and her husband, John, could not have children.
The Sabines actually already had five children, who they abandoned, claiming to others that they could not afford to raise them.
Auckland man Dennis Reddaway said he knew the couple as Lee and John Martin back in 1983, when they all lived in a block of flats on Akehurst Ave, in New Lynn, West Auckland.
"She was a very secretive woman -- just so strange.
"But she doted on my daughter. She absolutely adored her."
Mr Reddaway said on one occasion, he spoke with Lee about the fact she and her husband did not have children.
"She made my daughter's first birthday cake ... but she didn't come to the birthday. She said to me at the time: 'I wish we could've had kids. But I can't have any kids. John and I haven't been able to have any kids.'
"And that was her excuse for not coming to the birthday."
Speaking about John Martin, or John Sabine, Mr Reddaway described him as a friendly man. However, he was restricted by what he could do because of his wife, his old neighbour said.
"John -- he was a nice fella. But she wore the pants, oh yeah. Many times I invited John over for a beer, but he always declined.
"They were nice, but they were a strange couple. Sometimes, they'd want to talk to you and other times they didn't want to have anything to do with you."
The couple had only lived on the street for about a year before disappearing.
"I hadn't seen them for a couple of days, so I went over to knock on their door. There was no one there -- they'd done a moonlight flit."
About two weeks later, Mr Reddaway spotted a news item on television about them abandoning their children.
"When we saw it, we said to ourselves: 'What the hell?"'