The devastated family of a pregnant woman who was found dead on White Rock Beach suspect foul play was involved.

Wellington police searching for Sonam Shelar, who was five months pregnant and went missing on Saturday, confirmed a body was recovered from the Wairarapa beach yesterday.

Formal identification is yet to take place but the body is believed to be that of the 26-year-old who moved to New Zealand in April. A police spokeswoman this morning said police would be waiting for the results of a post mortem before commenting further.

Sonam moved here after marrying husband Sagar Shelar in December last year and was five months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.


Sagar said he had been contacted by police about the body of a pregnant woman being found on White Rock beach. He had not been told anything about how the woman had died, he said.

Sagar declined to speak to the Herald today but told Stuff that he and his wife had never been to the remote Wairarapa beach. He did not think she had enough money on her to travel there.

Sonam Shelar's body was found at the remote White Rock Beach in Wairarapa yesterday.
Sonam Shelar's body was found at the remote White Rock Beach in Wairarapa yesterday.

Sonam's mother collapsed when news of her death reached home in India, family spokesman and family member Harshal Patkar told the Herald.

"It might be a murder, that is what I'm saying, that is what her family thinks, especially her mother."

Sonam's family were adamant that she was not upset about an ultrasound scan indicating that she was having a girl and say she would not harm herself.

"When she [Sonam's mother] came to her senses she's told [the family] all these things, that she had transferred some money to them," he said.

"Then she said there used to be fights between them and Sagar used to give her a call and say that Sonam's not doing well."

Earlier this week Sonam's husband told the Herald that Sonam had wanted a boy but an ultrasound scan was inconclusive and she was upset.

"On November 15 we went for an ultrasound test at the hospital," Sagar Shelar told the Herald.

"She had always dreamed for a baby boy but that day after the ultrasound they were not sure if it was a girl or boy.

"As soon as we got in the car she was crying and so upset because she wanted a boy."

Sagar Shelar later said that police had searched his home and said: "I know that I'm still their first suspect but I know that I haven't done anything wrong."

Patkar said last night that Sonam's family did not believe she would have been upset if she was having a girl.

The night after she had the ultrasound scan, Sonam had called home and was sounding "very normal".

"This thing which is going on in the news that she was upset because she wanted a baby boy, this news is not right, it is not true," Patkar said.

"She wanted a baby boy but she was never upset about having a baby girl … on the same day they had the medical check-up she was not at all upset."

Sonam Shelar was five months pregnant.
Sonam Shelar was five months pregnant.

The family saw Sonam as a mentally strong woman and the thought of her harming herself was completely unlikely.

A fitness trainer in India, Sonam had stopped working after moving to New Zealand and becoming pregnant, Putkar said.

Sonam would often ring home and speak to her mother and Putkar, admitting things were difficult at home.

"Sagar was upset with her, saying that she's not working and everything," Putkar said.

"She was facing problems, like she wasn't willing to work or not willing to eat - that happens with normal pregnancy problems so he was upset on her because of that.

"He was complaining with her mother regarding that, telling her he has to work for all of the things for her."

Sonam's mother tried to convince her daughter to make an effort and be nice to Sagar, doing little things around the home so he did not have to.

Sagar Shelar had also complained to his mother-in-law about money problems the couple was facing, including working a job which he thought did not pay well enough.

He had contacted Sonam's mother and asked for money to be transferred to his account so he could extent Shelar's visa.

"Once [Sagar] had told my family to take her away back to India," Putkar said.

"There was a time when her husband wanted her to go back to India, he was acting like he was fed up with her.

"Sonam said she wanted to live there because the medical things are really good and she never wanted to fly when she was pregnant."

After being notified by Wellington police yesterday about her body being found, Putkar said the family was trying to fly to New Zealand as soon as possible.

Putkar reiterated the "wrong image" of Sonam had been presented by claims she was mentally disturbed or upset because she was having a girl.

"She was a strong-willed girl and she would never do anything … we can't imagine she would commit suicide," he told the Herald.

A police spokeswoman said they wanted to hear from anybody who could have seen Sonam Shelar on Friday, November 16, or Saturday, November 17.

Sonam was last seen wearing a brown jacket with fur on the hood, as well as white, black and orange trainers.

Any residents with CCTV cameras showing the road or street in the areas of Cashmere Ave, Onslow Rd, Box Hill, Burma Rd and Agra Crescent to contact Police on 04 381 2000 or email