11.30pm Sunday 14 April 2002
There’s been no word yet on the whereabouts of the kidnapped baby daughter of Justice Eddie Durie and his wife Donna Hall but police are heartened by the public’s willingness to help the investigation.
Eight month old Kahurautete Durie was kidnapped at gunpoint in St Albans Grove, Lower Hutt, yesterday morning while out in her pushchair on a walk with her mother, the baby’s two young cousins and the family dog.
Detective Inspector Stuart Wildon, the head of Operation St Albans, said tonight that the response from the public to appeals for information is simply tremendous but unfortunately we still haven’t heard from the offender or found baby Kahu.
"We’ve had a big police team out until 10pm knocking on more than 100 doors of homes in the immediate area of the kidnapping and we’ll be out there again tomorrow," Mr Wildon said. "There’s a great willingness from people to help and while it’s taking some time for us to work through all the information there’s been nothing so far that leads us to finding the baby, the offender or the car.
"People can only imagine the anguish the baby’s family are experiencing. Many of the more than 50 police men and women involved in this investigation are parents or have young relatives. The desire to find and return baby Kahu safely to her family is huge.
"The message from Kahu’s family and ourselves is to wrap the wee girl up warmly, leave her in a safe place where lots of people are around so she can be found quickly and be reunited with her mum and dad."
Investigators are also working through more than 100 calls logged so far on the 0800 150 499 hotline. The calls are coming through to a recorded message centre. Police are asking callers to speak slowly and clearly, and to repeat their contact telephone numbers at least twice – this will help police return the calls.
Police want sightings of a two tone silver and blue Mitsubishi (possibly a Galant), registration UL3802 or similar. This vehicle was seen driving away from the abduction scene, and turning left into Woburn Road.
"Please call us if you know where the car is, who might own it or have regular access to it," Mr Wildon said. "Let us judge the importance of any information that might help find the baby, the offender or the vehicle."
The gunman is described as a male caucasian, aged in his late 30s to early 40s, approximately 178cm (5’8") tall, slimly built, and either balding or with close cropped greying hair. He was wearing black jeans and a black jacket.
Staff working on the inquiry are drawn from throughout the Wellington Police District. They’ve been joined by some detectives from Wanganui and more than 20 police recruits from the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.
Wellington Police District communications manager
Cellphone: 0273 373 020 or Lower Hutt Police Station tel 560 2600