Christchurch Police believe they have identified the site where Mallory Manning was taken and attacked prior to her murder nearly two years ago.
Detective Inspector Greg Williams, who is leading the investigation into Manning's murder, said forensic evidence has linked Manning with an address in Galbraith Avenue.
"One of the key focuses of the investigation was the identification of the place that she had been taken to and attacked," said Williams.
"We have previously advised that a variety of seeds had been located on her clothing that tended to indicate that the attack took place at an outdoor location which was something akin to empty section.
"During the course of the investigation a large number of such sites were identified and examined and exhibits were taken from 16 sites.
"One of the sites of prime interest has been a large section situated at 25 Galbraith Avenue. This site is very close to where the victim's body was located in the Avon River.
Williams said prior to the commencement of the search at the address yesterday the site has been searched twice previously and a number of items of interest and samples have been recovered that have been forensically examined.
"I am satisfied from the results currently to hand that it is most probable that this was the site that Mallory was taken to and attacked. Forensic evidence has been recovered that links her specifically with that scene.
"This is a significant development in the case when you take into consideration what occurred that evening.
"I am satisfied that Mallory was picked up about 10.40pm and entered the Avon River just before 11pm. It is possible for this to occur and for Mallory to be taken to this site.
"Our timings suggest that she and her attackers would have arrived there just before 10.50pm. This infers that they had previous knowledge of the existence and whereabouts of this site. This has been a focus for the investigation now for some months.
Williams said at the time of the murder a building on the property was being used by the Christchurch Chapter of the Aotearoa Mongrel Mob and has been referred by them as their "Pad." "I can say that this aspect has been a significant part of the investigation to date but we do not rule out that other people could have had access to this site.
"I have informed Mallory's family of this significant development."
Williams said he expects the scene examination at Galbraith Avenue to continue for another day and investigators will then assess what has been recovered and what will be forensically examined.
"An area canvas will be conducted in the streets adjoining the site commencing today and we ask that any people that were living there at the time and have now moved to make contact with the Operation Dallington Investigation team.
"I urge people to make contact with the Investigation Team if they have information to provide."