5 more earthquake victims named - joint statement from Police and Chief Coroner

5 more earthquake victims named - joint statement from Police and Chief Coroner

National News

1 June

The Chief Coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, has welcomed news that further victims of the Christchurch earthquake have been positively identified and announced plans for the second coronial Inquest into the disaster.

“The work carried out by the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team is incredibly difficult and painstaking so these latest identifications are a wonderful testament to their persistence and professionalism,”
Judge MacLean said.

Police have confirmed that the DVI team has presented enough evidence on five of the previously unidentified victims of the earthquake for Coroner Sue Johnson to make a positive identification.

They are:
• Matthew Lyle BEAUMONT, age 31 (male), of Christchurch
• Jin-Yan LENG, age 30 (female), of China
• Xiujuan XU, age 47 (female), of China
• Di-Di ZHANG, age 23 (female), of China
• Xioa-Li ZHOU, age 26 (female), of China

The identifications were made as a result of the ongoing work of the DVI team using information including dental records, anthropological evidence and personal property details, some of which has only recently been obtained.

Head of the DVI operation, Inspector Mike Wright, says forensic efforts to identify the remaining victims have continued unabated since the earthquake.

"This has been a complex and time-consuming process but we have continued to focus on achieving identification wherever possible.

"With the arrival of new information from overseas we have been able to formally confirm identifications in these cases, which is a great result for the DVI team, but more importantly for the families,” Inspector Wright said.

Inspector Mark Harrison, head of the police Family Liaison team said the identifications will help the families of the victims find closure.

"The Coroner's findings, based on the available evidence, were an important step for families, helping them to move on with the practicalities of dealing with the death of a loved one.

"Now with confirmation of formal identification, the families have additional certainty about their loved ones which will be of immense comfort," Inspector Harrison said.

Judge MacLean said Waikato Coroner Gordon Matenga will hear evidence on
106 of the victims from the CTV building at an Inquest at the Riccarton Racecourse from June 13 - 15.

The hearings will be grouped, with evidence on 12 people believed to have been killed at The Clinic and eight other victims from the building to be heard on Monday, 13 staff from CTV and 8 staff from Kings College language school to be heard on Tuesday and 65 students of the College to be heard on Wednesday.

Editor’s note: Further details of cases, timings and arrangements for media coverage for this Inquest will be sent out when confirmed.

ENDS
Media contact for Police:
Grant Ogilvie
04 474 9476

Media contact for the Chief Coroner:
Steve Corbett
027 666 8949