Police have early this afternoon recovered six year old Coral Burrowâ€™s body from the windswept Southern Wairarapa coast.
Detective Inspector Rod Drew, head of Operation Reef, says a preliminary post mortem examination will start later this afternoon at Wellington Hospital. It may not be completed until later in the weekend.
Mr Drew says police and forensic experts will be at the recovery site, on the shores of Lake Onoke (Ferry) near the Ruamahanga River mouth, for the rest of today and may be into tomorrow.
"We need to complete a thorough and meticulous examination of the scene and that could take some time," he says. "Thereâ€™s still a lot of investigative work to do and that may include searches in other areas."
Mr Drew paid tribute to the dedicated efforts of the search and investigation teams involved in Operation Reef.
"The support from police and civilian search volunteers who have spent hours in the field, from people in the community who have provided food, accommodation, messages and other goodwill has been phenomenal," he says.
"I also want to acknowledge the commitment and professionalism of all those involved in the investigation team.
"The tragic death of a young child is always particularly hard. I know the level of public support is providing some comfort to Coralâ€™s family."