9 Sep 2009

Second body in house confirmed as Tisha Lowry

9:50 pm on 9 September 2009

The body of the second woman found buried under the floorboards of a Christchurch house is that of Tisha Lowry, police have confirmed.

Two bodies were found beneath the floorboards of a semi-detached house in Wainoni Road last week. The first was identified on Monday as that of the woman who lived at the house.

Ms Lowry's body was removed on Monday night, watched by tearful family members. Police informed the family on Wednesday morning of the positive identification.

Police say the 28-year-old had been buried in the clothing she was wearing when she went missing and was identified from dental records.

Ms Lowry disappeared without a trace in September last year and no one came forward with any information despite a $20,000 reward offered by police.

The house where the bodies were discovered is next door to where Ms Lowry was living at the time of her disappearance.

The identification of the second body has brought some closure for the Lowry family, but has left questions about the police investigation into the disappearance.

Ms Lowry's body was only discovered afer the woman who lived at the house was reported missing 10 days ago and her husband questioned.

A 33-year-old contractor who lived at the house has been charged with murdering his wife. Their names are suppressed. He will face another charge of murder when he appears in court on Friday.

Neighbours in Wainoni Road say they want to know why the man was not a focus of the police investigation a year ago, with some questioning whether a life could have been saved.

Police have already said they are reviewing the way Ms Lowry's disappearance was investigated. Forensic work is continuing at the house and is not expected to be completed until the weekend.

Family statement

The family of Ms Lowry say they want to be left alone to grieve.

In a statement, the family says they are pleased to have closure and sincerely thank police and volunteers who helped when Ms Lowry went missing and for all their hard work to date.

They say they are particularly grateful for "all the love and support received from our family and friends".

The head of the investigation, Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald, says he spoke to the family on Wednesday morning.

"Obviously, this is a tragic conclusion for a family that's waited nearly a year now for some information about their daughter, granddaughter, sister and friend. There is some closure now."

Ms Lowry's body will be returned to her family on Thursday.

Mayor urges residents not to destroy house

Christchurch City Council is considering buying the building and turning the site into a memorial park or community facility.

Mayor Bob Parker is urging calm among people who live nearby, saying they should not consider destroying the house as that would put others in the community at risk.

Police must be given time to complete their investigation and the property owner must also be considered, he says.

The possibility that the council will buy the building has come as a relief to Jason Hall, who, along with his family, has moved out of the adjoining house temporarily.

Mr Hall says his family can't bear to be near what some are dubbing Christchurch's "house of horror."

Police say security measures will be taken to protect the house after calls for it to be burned down after the investigation is completed.

Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald says any suggestion of arson is being taken seriously and police will review what security they can provide until neighbours decide what future they have with the home.