LAWFUEL – The NZ Law Newswire – Detective Senior Sergeant Bensemann, the Officer in Charge of the Homicide enquiry into the murder of 2 year old Jhia Harmony Te Tua, said this morning that the Operation 55 investigation team had commenced a critical phase.
Further search warrants were executed from day break this morning with a large number of suspects being located, interviewed and charged with various offences.
“As at midday, 9 males have been arrested and charged with the murder of Jhia Te Tua. 3 of these are already in custody in Wanganui, Linton and Rimutaka Prisons. 1 of these arrests was made in Kaikohe and he will appear in the Whangarei District Court today.
“There have been further arrests that are unrelated to the events on 05 May 2007 which have been identified during the course of the homicide investigation”, said Mr Bensemann.
Further details of these arrests will be provided later this afternoon.
“A further 2 persons have also been charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder”. Detective Senior Sergeant Bensemann said that “there would be Court appearances this afternoon for those arrested during this phase.”
“Police staff numbering over 80 have been involved in the Operation this morning”, said Inspector Duncan MacLeod, Area Commander of the Wanganui Police. “The outcomes so far today reflect the many hours of dedicated work by the investigation team”, he said.
Area Commander Inspector Duncan MacLeod said that a full media conference will take place at the Wanganui Police Station this afternoon at 4.00PM.
Anyone with information about the murder should also use the 0508 FOR JHIA line (0508 367 5442) as any information will be provided straight back into that enquiry team.