Police are searching a home on the same street where missing Christchurch real estate agent Yanfei Bao’s car was found after she was last seen door-knocking in the area.
Bao was last seen in the Wigram area about 10.30am on Wednesday. She has not been found, however, her cellphone was located on the Southern Motorway on Friday.
On Saturday evening Detective Inspector Nicola Reeves said this afternoon the investigation resulted in a vehicle of interest being seized and search warrants being executed at two addresses, one in Bryndwr and one in Wigram.
“As a result, several people are assisting police with inquiries.”
The Wigram property is on Iroquois Pl, where her car was found on Wednesday. A police car is up the driveway. Neighbours were unaware of the police presence, when spoken to by the Herald on Saturday evening.
Police said any updates would be issued proactively when further information was available.
Earlier on Saturday, Reeves said police had received “more than 40 pieces of information from the public which we are in the process of assessing”.
“We want to thank the public for coming forward, and encourage anyone who has not done so to let us know if they have information that may assist.”
One of Bao’s friends, Jin Tian, posted on her Facebook page she had last spoken to Bao, who she called Emily, at 11.16am on Wednesday on WeChat.
“She mentioned about a potential client who wants to transfer money to NZ and checked if about the rate and channel.
“Then she said she was going to call the person to see how he/she wanted and would call me back. And she did not,” Tian wrote.
In another post, Tian said she was not sure where Bao was when she called her.
On Friday, Reeves said police were “growingly concerned” for Bao.
”Ms Bao’s disappearance is unexplained, and a missing person investigation remains ongoing.
”She was last seen conducting her business as a real estate agent on Vickerys Road in the Wigram Area about 10.30am.
”Since then, she failed to pick up her daughter from after-school care, and her car, a silver Nissan Dualis, has been located nearby the area she was last seen on Iroquois Place.
”Today, police searched a number of areas and located Ms Bao’s cellphone on the Southern Motorway. But Ms Bao remains missing.”
Reeves said the longer Bao was missing, the more police concerns would grow.
She said the fact she didn’t have her cellphone, which was found in bushes at the side of the motorway, was particularly concerning.
She said police had been fortunate with the information coming from members of the public.
“It’s through that good investigative work and help from the public we’ve been able to find her phone,” Reeves said.
Reeves said police would “look into” Bao and her history.
The last person who saw Bao was a homeowner, whom Bao visited.
”We are now interested to hear from any members of the public who might have been travelling on the motorway on Wednesday and noticed anything out of the ordinary.
”Anyone with any piece of information no matter how small is encouraged to contact police immediately.
”Police have also been conducting door-to-door inquiries in the area she was last seen.
”If you live in this area and have not spoken with police, but have access to CCTV footage of the street area, police would like to hear from you.
”I would like to reiterate that police and Ms Bao’s family are deeply concerned for her safety. This is very out of character and her loved ones are desperate to hear from her and know she is safe.”
Bao’s husband, Paul Gooch, had also prepared a statement which was provided to media.
”My family and I are deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing of my beloved wife, Yanfei Bao.
”Our 9-year-old daughter and I are desperate for any information that could help police locate her.”
Bao was a “dedicated real estate consultant” who was “engaging with the local community through door knocking when she went missing and we have not heard from her since”.
”We are incredibly worried and ask for any assistance from anyone that knows something.
”We pray for Yanfei’s safe return and would like to thank everyone for their vigilance and support at this time.”
On Friday morning some of her colleagues were out delivering leaflets in people’s letterboxes in the Wigram area. The leaflet says “Help us find Yanfei Bao!”.
Bao’s profile on the Harcourts site said she has “extensive experience” in sales, and was previously a top-selling salesperson in a major electronics brand.
“She reached the status of Apple Master, which is a rare achievement. She is highly educated and capable with a Master’s degree in English linguistics and a post-graduate diploma in business management and is ready to utilise the knowledge she gained from her academic achievements to enhance the result she delivers for clients and customers.”
Family was her “priority”, and she loved spending time with her partner and young daughter.
“In her spare time, she loves to read, and her other interests include travel and learning something new every day. If you are looking for a highly educated, passionate, and hard-working salesperson to assist you in buying or selling your most important asset, give Yanfei a call, as she would love to hear from you,” the Harcourts site states.
- Anyone who had seen her, or had any information about where she could be, is urged to call 111 immediately and quote event number P055385539.
Sam Sherwood is a Christchurch-based reporter who covers crime. He is a senior journalist who joined the Herald in 2022, and has worked as a journalist for 10 years.