A 15-year-old girl found dead after she was dropped off in a taxi late at night has been described as a "lovely young lady".

Police yesterday appealed to the public for sightings of Ariana Reedy and mounted a search before finding her body.

A taxi driver was the last one to see her alive after dropping her off near the Bluff Hill lookout in Napier, about 10.30pm on Tuesday.

Several people have paid tribute to Ariana on social media.

Advertisement

One girl said: "Will miss your smile and beautiful personality. Every day you were at school you always made me smile and have a laugh. You will be dearly missed by everyone. Love and miss you."

Another said: "Rest easy beautiful. I know that you will look over the ones who cared xox its so heart breaking that such a lovely young lady like you had passed on, you are in a better place now.. wish you hadn't have left us so soon."

One Napier resident said police had been searching for Reedy in her yard.

"I saw the police in our street early this morning and my husband saw them again later that morning in our garden. We didn't know until tonight that they were looking for Ariana Reedy, such a beautiful child, who has been found dead.

"Tonight as I sit in my warm lounge on the top of Bluff Hill, I feel so sad that, that poor little girl was out there all alone in the cold dark night, so alone and so troubled and we were so close that we could have almost have reached out and touched her and maybe saved her.

"It's a very sobering thought to think a child so young, died almost on your doorstep all alone and you couldn't help."

he driver's now coming under fire on social media for taking the young teenager to Bluff Hill by herself, late at night.

Taxi Federation Executive Director John Hart said drivers do their best to ascertain it's safe for their passengers, but they're not trained to deal with people who may be unwell.

"It's a very hard situation. Most drivers would think there's a young girl, who wants to be dropped off in a remote area, and they would question why and try to get some help but it's not always possible."

Taxi drivers can't interrogate their passengers, Hart said.

"Some people want to talk and some people don't want to talk. Some people might be a bit unhappy and want to help. Sometimes there's a language problem with taxi drivers as well, and they don't understand the nuances of moods."

Hart said drivers are often cautious about how much they ask their passengers.

"It's very, very difficult because if they start questioning people about why they are going there and their reasons for doing something in particular, then that raises the suspicions about the motives of the taxi driver."

He said sometimes the easiest thing for drivers to do is just drop passengers off.

"Taxi drivers get accused of a number of things, and if it involves police intervention they immediately lose their passenger endorsement and their right to earn a living."

The death has been referred to the coroner.

Where to get help:
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)• Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
Canterbury Support Line: 0800 777 846

Advertisement