It's a family's worst nightmare to be told a loved one has been killed in a crash, but to then discover their personal possessions have gone missing can add insult to injury. Katee Shanks talks to a woman looking for her nana's handbag and wallet after they went missing from a fatal crash scene.
The family of a woman who was killed in a car crash only minutes from her Waiotahe home feel violated after realising her handbag and wallet are missing.
Greta Tuite, 84, and William Rankin, 89, were killed at the intersection of Paerata Ridge Rd and State Highway 2 last Sunday when their vehicle was involved in a collision with an SUV.
Tuite's granddaughter Libby Tuite has asked for the community's help to find the missing items.
"My Nana never went anywhere without her handbag so we know she would have had it with her," Tuite said.
"The bag, its contents and her wallet all have sentimental value to us and we are hoping we can get them back.
"We know there would have been cash in the wallet as they always did their groceries on a Sunday morning and my Nan was very old school. But we do not care about the cash, we honestly do not care about the cash, it's just the wallet and handbag we would like back."
Tuite said she had gone to the yard where the car had been stored since the crash and clambered through the wreckage in search of the missing items.
"It was incredibly traumatic and one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. I jimmied open the glovebox, crawled behind the seats, basically looked over every inch of that vehicle which was tough as, I'm sure you can imagine, there's not much of it left.
"We [the family] have also combed the stretch of road and in the area the crash happened and have not been able to locate the handbag or wallet."
Tuite said staff at the wrecking yard had been "awesome", as had the police.
The family were certain the only conclusion that could be drawn regarding her nan's belongings was that someone had taken them from the crash site.
"We have also spoken to the person who held her hand until emergency services got there and they have confirmed there were others around."
She said the possible theft felt like a violation after what was already an incredibly traumatic event.
"I know Nana would have had whatever she was knitting at the time in her handbag, her glasses would have been in there and she always carried photos of us all.
"It just doesn't sit well with us knowing these things have been taken. We would just really like these things back."
Tuite said her Nan was very well known throughout Whakatāne, Ōpōtiki and Edgecumbe and she hoped there was somebody out there who might be able to help get the handbag and wallet back.
Police have been approached for comment.
The wallet is dark blue, rectangular in shape with a dome opening and a pattern on the front. It has a card sleeve on one side and coin and money slots on the other. The handbag is also blue.