A 69-year-old West Auckland woman killed in her family home yesterday in an apparent botched burglary was found by her daughter.

Police believe Cun Xiu Tian could have been dead for some time before her daughter and son-in-law returned to their Glenvil Lane, Te Atatu Peninsula, home and found her body.

This afternoon, Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small said it was too early to say if Mrs Tian knew the person who killed her.

Police say her death is a "shocking tragedy".


They say they cannot solve Mrs Tian's killing alone and are appealing for public help.

No arrest has been made.

Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small talks to the media this afternoon about the Te Atatu Peninsula homicide. Photo / Supplied
Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small talks to the media this afternoon about the Te Atatu Peninsula homicide. Photo / Supplied

Investigators believe the answers they are looking for lie within the community.

Mr Small said he was keeping an open mind and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

The attack was isolated, he said, and there was no evidence of risk for the community.

Police were still trying to establish what had happened to Mrs Tian. Her body was removed from the Glenvil Lane house today.

Mrs Tian was killed between 9am and 5pm and was found at 5.30pm when her family returned home. They are said to be devastated.

'A burglary gone wrong'

The discovery of her body sparked a massive response that included armed police, dog squads and the police Eagle helicopter.

Armed police swarmed to an Auckland suburb tonight after a body was found in unexplained circumstances.

A St John spokesman said Mrs Tian was dead when an ambulance arrived at her home.

Mr Small said two other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, understood to be shock.

This morning, a neighbour told the Herald she had spoken with the police at length last night.

They told her the killing was a case of "a burglary gone wrong".

Police remain at the property today and an armed officer is manning a cordon.

Last night, resident Steven Columbus said he was surprised to hear of the death.

"It's just a quiet street ... it's just shocking," he said. "I won't sleep for a few nights."

Also last night, there were several reports of an incident near the Lincoln Rd offramp from the Northwestern Motorway.

"A man was sitting on the ground, with his hands behind his back," a local resident told the Herald. "A white old stationwagon was parked with all the doors open. There were about three police officers. One of the officers was walking around the car and the other two were looking at the guy."

Another person posting on social media said she had seen police arresting several people on Lincoln Rd but was unsure if that was related to the death in Glenvil Lane.

Back at Te Atatu Peninsula, people from Mrs Tian's house were seen getting into an ambulance and a police car.

A man who lives near the street, Alex Hawea, said he had been out walking when he saw the police action unfold.

He described seeing two police officers pull out rifles near the dairy on Old Te Atatu Rd.

"They told us it was best to stay inside, so I went back to make sure the kids were okay."

Mr Hawea has been been living in the area for a couple of months and said it seemed to be a pretty good neighbourhood. "Hopefully it's just a one-off."

Despite the death, he still felt pretty safe. "All the neighbours have been going around checking everyone is okay."

Earlier, a Facebook user wrote: "Must be something bad, all sirens on and guns ready."

Another person said the road outside her home had been cordoned off. "I'm waiting to go home but can't leave. There was a fire truck before too."

Facebook user Stevie-Lea Larsen wrote that a police officer would not let her leave Kotuku St. "[He] told us to go home for an hour or so 'cause they don't want anyone in or out of the area."

One woman said she was at the scene. She said the police were not telling people anything, "but I saw the people from the house come out of the ambulance and into the cop car".

One Glenvil Lane resident, who did not want to be named, told the Herald he noticed a firefighter coming out of the house.

"The first I knew something was going on was a fire engine came and parked by our driveway." An ambulance was also there.

"The police have come and the whole street has been cordoned off and the ambulance is backed up right in our driveway."

The man said at least five or six police cars were in the street, along with a police dog and handler.

- additional reporting: Corazon Miller, Morgan Tait