Members of the Highway 61 gang killed Mona Blades and were talking about it at a flat in Auckland a year after, according to a new witness.
A man, who the Rotorua Daily Post has agreed not to name for safety reasons, said he was shocked when he watched a documentary about the 43-year-old unsolved mystery last Sunday night which revealed a dramatic twist in the case.
The disappearance of Blades, who was hitchhiking from Hamilton to Napier at Queens Birthday weekend in 1975, featured as part of a new series called Cold Case.
The show highlighted how police at the time quite possibly put too much weight on a truck driver's evidence that he saw Blades getting into an orange Datsun on the Napier-Taupo Rd, blinding them to other sightings that weren't followed through.
The show also highlighted new links Blades had with Auckland and Hamilton bike gangs and concluded police now believed she didn't leave Taupo alive and possibly came to grief at the hands of a bike gang travelling through Taupo to a convention in Wellington.
An Auckland man has since approached the Rotorua Daily Post after watching the documentary.
He said he was told information years ago from a friend, who died about five years ago, that the Highway 61 gang was involved. However, after reading reports that police suspected a man driving an orange Datsun on the Napier-Taupo Rd, the conversation went out of his head.
"That TV programme has confirmed what I had heard."
The man said while his memory was foggy, he remembered being told by a friend the Highway 61 killed her.
"I did have a friend, now dead, who inadvertently ended up with some of these guys in a flat in the Grey Lynn-Westmere area in Auckland in about 1976. He was very frightened of his situation."
He said he had loose association with Highway 61 members but was not a member himself.
"But these guys are not just a bunch of friends riding around like we were. They were really f***ked-up people."
He said if the discussion among the Highway 61 members about the killing had got back to him then those closer to the gang at the time were bound to know more.
Detective Inspector Mark Loper, who is leading the new inquiry team that worked on the Cold Case documentary, said the man's information was "interesting" and he would contact him.
He said since the documentary aired, the police had received hundreds of emails and phone calls.
Loper said the interest was so big, all calls were being monitored by an answer machine system. He said those who had left messages would be follow up, but not necessarily immediately.
The Rotorua Daily Post was unable to make contact with Highway 61 members.
The Cold Case documentary showed witnesses' evidence suggested Blades stayed in Taupo, was seen drinking at the Spa Hotel with another young woman and possibly was killed by people she knew.
One of the witnesses' evidence that wasn't followed through was a woman who saw two men carrying rolled carpet into the back of a red Toyota station wagon at night in Taupo. That linked with another sighting that a red Toyota station wagon was seen stopped and travelling in convoy with a bike gang at a service station near Taupo.
The show also revealed the image of Blades portrayed at the time was not a true reflection of what she looked like at the time of her disappearance.
The photograph supplied by the family was from when she was a bridesmaid at a wedding and showed her having blond curls when in fact her hair was more like a mullet-style with shorter sides and longer on top.
Three other mysteries will feature in the Cold Case series on TV One. The next is this Sunday at 8.30pm on the disappearance of Do Trieu from 2008. This will be followed by the cases of Kayo Matsuzawa from 1998 and Tuitania Barclay from 2002.