Tuesday, 13 October 2009 - 12:24pm |
National News

Post Mortem today for Aisling Symes

2 min read

Waitemata Police Area Commander Inspector Gary Davey says a post mortem is currently being held for two-year-old Aisling Symes whose body was recovered overnight from a Henderson drainpipe.

"The cause of Aisling's tragic death will be determined at a post mortem today in Auckland, and the circumstances canvassed by both our investigation team and the coroner.

"We still have a lot of work to do to find out how Aisling came to be in the drainpipe which runs the back of several properties in Longburn Road, Henderson," he said.

Aisling was found just before 8pm yesterday, and her body removed from the drain at 1.30am today. She was found 36 metres downstream from a manhole cover in a drain which was buried 1.4m underground on the property at 51 Pomaria Road. Aisling went missing from 7 Longburn Road at 5.30pm on Monday, 5 October.

Inspector Davey said the police team are deeply saddened by the news of Aisling's death. "Our top priority has always been on finding this little child, and that she could be reunited safe and well to her loving family.

"We can only imagine the pain that Aisling's family and friends are going through. They are distraught but I know are extremely grateful for the many messages and gestures of support they have received.

"Our officers have also today received many telephone calls and emails from members of the public acknowledging the tragedy. Aisling has captured the hearts of people throughout New Zealand, and overseas."

Inspector Davey said that he was satisfied that, between the specialist Search and Rescue teams, the professionalism of investigators, and the tenacity of general duties officers, police did as much as they could with the information police had about Aisling's disappearance.

Inspector Davey said the decision to revisit the drain yesterday was made as part of a review of where the investigation was at, and the absence of other leads.

Inspector Davey said that the drain had been searched several times by police on the night Aisling disappeared. Staff had shifted the heavy manhole cover, climbed into the drain, shone torches into it and called for Aisling without response.

Aisling's father had also searched the drain, he said.

Inspector Davey said the manhole cover on the drain was about 600m wide and weighed approximately 20kg, well beyond the ability of a toddler to shift.

Late yesterday police sought additional assistance from Waitakere City Council and NZ Fire Service. Diggers, concrete cutters and drainage cameras were used to work through sectors of the drainpipe. More than 1m of soil had to be dug from above the ground and obstructions cleared before Aisling's body was found.


Released by:

Kaye Calder
Operation Longburn communications advisor
Mobile: 027 241 6305
email: kaye.calder@police.govt.nz