There are currently 66 unsolved homicides in New Zealand, dating back to 1914.

That's 66 men, women and children - and even siblings and couples murdered together - whose deaths are a mystery.

Over four days we are detailing each murder - who the victim was, what happened and when.

Today the unsolved murders between 1980 and 2000 are covered.

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Justice has never been served for them or their families, and while in some cases police are confident that one day they will get a result, others will never be solved.

Police provided the Herald with details of each of the unsolved homicides from 1914.

Since then there have been a number of other murders, with only one unsolved to date.

As we remember those killed, we urge anyone with information on these cases to contact their local police - or offer details anonymously via Crimestoppers - and help them solve the mystery of what happened to the 66.

Simon Paulis Buis

April 4, 1980
Auckland

The 54-year-old Dutchman was found dead near the Eden Rugby Football Club at Gribblehurst Park in Sandringham.

Simon Paulus Buis was found murdered near Eden Park. Photograph supplied
Simon Paulus Buis was found murdered near Eden Park. Photograph supplied

He had been beaten to death and people living near the park at the time told police they had heard a man screaming, the sounds of punches being thrown, and a car being driven off at speed.

Two 15-year-olds were accused of murdering Buis but the charges were withdrawn.

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They were charged after they were found with a stolen car and police said they "made some admissions about beating someone up".

Alicia O'Reilly

August 16, 1980
Auckland

Six-year-old Alicia was raped and murdered in her own bed - suffocated by an intruder as her sister slept nearby.

Police identified a suspect, who was committed to a mental institution by his father soon after the murder.

Alicia O'Reilly was raped and murdered in her Auckland bed. Photograph/Sensing Murder
Alicia O'Reilly was raped and murdered in her Auckland bed. Photograph/Sensing Murder

Four months later a comparison between body hair found at the murder scene and a sample taken from the suspect proved inconclusive.

Alfred Anderson

June 5, 1982
Christchurch

On Queen's Birthday Monday Anderson was found dead in his Waltham home by his son.

He had been badly beaten and his throat was slit.

A positive DNA profile - which police believe could identify the killer - was recovered after number of items from the house were examined during reviews of the case over 2008 and 2009.

The profile was not in the police DNA database.

Police revealed in 2012 that one suspect had died, and his family had refused to speak to investigators.

Kirsa Jensen

September 1, 1983
Napier

The 14-year-old schoolgirl disappeared while out riding her horse Commodore on the foreshore at Awatoto south of Napier.

The horse was found tethered by an old gun emplacement but there has never been any sign of Kirsa.

Kirsa Jensen. Photograph supplied
Kirsa Jensen. Photograph supplied

Amid nationwide publicity, and an offer from Napier newspaper the Daily Telegraph to post a $5000 reward, information came from several people based on what they'd seen in the area.

Among these was Whakatu orchard worker John Russell, who initially told of driving past and seeing a girl talking to a man, holding her at arm's length and near a parked white truck.

Russell later became the prime suspect and during the investigation he made confessions, which he later retracted.

He committed suicide nine years after Kirsa's disappearance.

Ernie Abbott

March 27, 1984
Wellington

Abbott, 63, was a caretaker at the Wellington Trades Hall and was killed when a bomb, hidden in a suitcase, exploded in the building.

The bomb was designed to go off when the suitcase moved.
The case was left in the foyer of the building and Abbott died instantly when it detonated.

Abbott was one of three people in the building at the time.

Ernie Abbott. Photograph supplied
Ernie Abbott. Photograph supplied

Research officer David Butler was in his office and described the aftermath to the Herald.

"I was shaking like a leaf. There was black smoke everywhere. The blast smashed my door to bits on the first floor and the lights went out."

Police profiled the bomber as a man in his late 40s to 60s who lived alone or in circumstances which afforded him privacy.

He could be a hoarder of old items, a handyman who was methodical and tidy, with a tendency to feelings of persecution.

Brent Minhinnick

December 15, 1985

No further information available

Martin Reid

May 31, 1988
Oxford

Reid, 27, was found dead in at the Garry River near Oxford, North Canterbury.

His body was in his white Camaro car, and he was lying half in and half out of the vehicle.

Reid was shot in the head and police believe his death was drug-related. Investigators identified a suspect, but that person reportedly died of cancer in the early 1990s.

David Oemcke

January 3, 1990
Stratford

Oemcke was found dead in his car with a deep gash to his head soon after leaving a Stratford pub.

He had recently been released from prison and had been drinking the night he died at several bars around the Taranaki town.

In 2009 the Taranaki Daily News reported that Oemcke's brother Joe confessed to police and a friend that he killed the man - however he was never charged.

Joe Oemcke told the newspaper: "David's death had nothing to do with me. He was a bully, a thug, and if he got killed by being donged over the head by somebody, it wasn't by me.

"I just happened to be drinking with him that night. All I know was that there was a big fight."

Kevin O'Loughlin

May 2, 1993
Nelson

O'Loughlin is one of the only unsolved murders in the Nelson area.

The 30-year-old father of three was stabbed six times and died in the street near the bar he had been at with friends.

His heart was pierced in the frenzied attack.

The self-employed carpenter's body was found by a taxi driver at 3.30am.

Police would later reveal that several groups of people walked past the dead man, thinking he was asleep.

Soon after the brutal killing a police media spokesman said the person responsible was "a person with a mission – someone who was intent on injuring the victim".

"The ferocity of the wounds would indicate that whoever attacked him did so with a vengeance," he told local media.

Norrie Triggs

February 5, 1992
Wellington

Triggs, a 51-year-old computer programmer, was found by his landlady slumped against a chair in his Chartwell bed sit.

He was well-known for his wide and varied relationships with women - a notebook containing names and addresses of nearly 1000 sexual conquests was found in his home - and police initially believed a woman beat and killed him.

A key suspect was identified but there was never enough evidence to charge her.

In 2009 the former investigation head told the Dominion Post he was not convinced Triggs was murdered.

He said it was possible Triggs could have fallen and hit his head, causing the head injury that killed him.

Stuart James Te Wano

January 19, 1995
Gisborne

Te Wano was a 21-year-old Mongrel Mob prospect.

He was shot twice and his body was found in a paddock near a gang shelter in the remote village of Hiruharama, 8km southwest of Ruatoria.

Detectives said within days that the case was a real whodunit and braced for a long inquiry.

Angela Maree Blackmoore

August 17, 1995
Christchurch

Blackmoore's death was one of the most tragic murders in New Zealand history.

The 21-year-old was 10 weeks pregnant and had a 2-year-old son, who was asleep in his bed when she was stabbed to death in her Christchurch kitchen.

Angela Blackmoore was pregnant when she was killed in her Christchurch home.
Angela Blackmoore was pregnant when she was killed in her Christchurch home.

Blackmoore was stabbed 39 times and despite extensive searches around the city, the murder weapon was never found.

The young mum was extremely conscious about security and it is thought she knew her killer as she would not have opened the door - which was closed and locked when her body was found - to a stranger.

Her boyfriend found her body when he arrived home from work at 11.20pm.

It was the first time he had left her alone at night, after being called into work unexpectedly.

Elizabeth Marusich

October 5, 1995
Auckland

Marusich, a Parnell widow, was brutally bashed to death with a heavy object in Auckland Domain.

Police spent six months looking for her killer, offering a $20,000 reward for information and interviewing more than 2000 domain users, but drew a blank.

In 2000 a builder fixing the roof of an old hall behind the St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Parnell Rd found bags belonging to Marusich on a flat area between two A-frame sections of roof.

Elizabeth Marusich was bludgeoned to death in the Auckland Domain. Photograph supplied
Elizabeth Marusich was bludgeoned to death in the Auckland Domain. Photograph supplied

The man had read about the Marusich case and recognised the woman's name on an identification card.

The bags, which were beginning to decay, were apparently thrown there by the killer as the roof was too high to be reached without an extension ladder.

Police immediately began a search of the area and sent the bags for forensic testing.

John Thomas Reynolds

April 26, 1996
Christchurch

The 55-year-old scrap metal dealer was found dead from head injuries in his Sydenham workshop.

At the time it was reported that the killing was thought to be linked to rumours that Reynolds often carried large amounts of cash.

A $20,000 reward was posted in a bid to solve the case.

Claire Elizabeth Hills

April 24, 1998
Auckland

Hills, 30, was found dead in the back of her burned out Mazda Familia in the Mangere Domain in the early hours of April 28, 1998.

She was alive when the car was deliberately set alight and died as a result of the blaze.

Claire Hills who was found murdered in her car on Mangere Mountain in 1998. Photograph supplied
Claire Hills who was found murdered in her car on Mangere Mountain in 1998. Photograph supplied

Police believe Hills, also known as Lisa, was sexually assaulted and have a DNA sample from her killer.

But in the last 20 years there has been no match with anyone on the New Zealand DNA database.

Hills was on her way to work as a manager at McDonald's when she was murdered.

Lien Nguyen

May 18, 1998
Auckland

Nguyen, a 35-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, was living in Otahuhu with her husband and baby.

Dat Van Nguyen found his wife dead on the living room floor when he arrived home from work.

Lien Nguyen was murdered in 1998. Photograph supplied
Lien Nguyen was murdered in 1998. Photograph supplied

She had been stangled with a heater cord wrapped tightly around her neck and jewellery had been stripped from her body.

The couple's baby daughter, Wendy, was found unharmed in a cot covered by blankets and a pillow.

A 39-year-old man was charged with murdering the mother-of-two and was due to stand trial in June 2000.

However, shortly before the trial the charges was thrown out.

A High Court judge ruled certain evidence inadmissible, leaving insufficient evidence to justify the trial proceeding.

At the time police said they would not be investigating anyone else in relation to the case.

"We have no evidence to suggest that there's anyone else involved at the moment so it's back to square one," said the officer in charge of the case.

Kirsty Bentley

January 31, 1998
Ashburton

Schoolgirl Kirsty Marianne Bentley went missing while walking her dog and her body was found concealed in a rural paddock 50km away more than two weeks later.

Over the years, hundreds of local men have been spoken to by police during Operation Kirsty, including her brother John and ex-Royal Navy sailor father Sid, whose movements on New Year's Eve were vague, and whose story later changed.

Both said police treated them as suspects and vehemently denied any involvement, with Sid doing so right up to his death.

Kirsty Bentley. Photograph supplied
Kirsty Bentley. Photograph supplied

One theory doing the rounds was that John had killed his sister and that his father helped him dump the body.

He has said detectives appeared to think he was jealous of his sister because she had a boyfriend.

In March last year, police confirmed to the Herald that they were looking at double Ashburton Work and Income killer Russell Tully as a possible suspect.

The former local diesel mechanic was ruled out after detectives quizzed him behind bars and came away satisfied with his alibi.

The Herald reported this month that police believe advances in modern DNA testing techniques could crack open the case.

Kayo Matsuzawa

September 1998
Auckland

The 29-year-old Japanese tourist was murdered just hours after she arrived in the city and her naked body dumped in an obscure utility cupboard in a warren-like CBD building.

The case was grisly and shocking.

Kayo Matsuzawa was murdered in 1998. Photograph supplied
Kayo Matsuzawa was murdered in 1998. Photograph supplied

The investigation, named Operation Net, has been open and active and earlier this year police announced they had an update - a new suspect in the 20-year-old cold case.

In August police revealed banking records show the suspect was in the immediate vicinity of where Matsuzawa's body was found.

However, they were tight-lipped over the person of interest, who used a bank card at a nearby BNZ ATM machine on September 11, 1998, the day Matsuzawa went missing.

David John Robinson

Late 1998
West Coast

Robinson was last seen at a court appearance on November 11, 1998.

On December 28 the 25-year-old itinerant was found dead on a deserted beach at Kakapotahi, 50km south of Hokitika.

He had been shot dead.

Robinson, formerly of Rotorua, had not contacted his family for eight years.


Tomorrow we visit the unsolved homicides from 2000 til 2018.