17 Jan 2016

Appeal for help to solve killing of "loved mother and grandmother"

9:48 pm on 17 January 2016

A west Auckland community leader is urging residents to give whatever help they can to police investigating the killing of a 69-year-old woman in her home.

Cunxiu Tian

Cunxiu Tian Photo: SUPPLIED

Cun Xiu Tian was found dead in her Te Atatu home by family members when they returned from work on Friday. She had lived at the home with her daughter and son-in-law.

Police say they will not be able to find who killed her without the public's help.

A police officer near the Te Atatu house where Cun Xiu Tian, 69, was found dead.

A police officer near the Te Atatu house where Cun Xiu Tian, 69, was found dead. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Vanessa Neeson, who chairs the Henderson-Massey Local Board, said the "loving and caring" community of Te Atatu would be reeling at news of the killing and urged anyone who thought they had information to tell police.

"They will be caring themselves, they will be concerned that police get as much assistance as they possibly can.

"What I really just can't believe is that it happened in the daytime," Ms Neeson said.

"I've lived out west for 40 years and I have never known anything like this happening in this community.

"It's a particularly loving and caring community, everybody works together to assist and do what they can - it's an amazing community, all peninsulas are and this one is no different," she said.

Grey Power Auckland regional director Bill Rayner was shocked at the killing and said women should not have to feel unsafe in their own homes.

Grey Power Auckland regional director Bill Rayner

Bill Rayner Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

"It's been not a common pattern but enough to be a concern over the past little while, these attacks on women in particular in their homes, senior women."

Mr Rayner said Grey Power was so concerned about attacks on the elderly that it took up the issue up with the mayor "some time back" arguing there was a need for security doors on council pensioner housing.

He said work had started on this, but the programme had slowed and was now dragging on.

"It's a community issue, the community should rally around these situations and make sure they know where their seniors are in their community and keep an eye on them," Mr Rayner said.

Police appeal for help

The police said yesterday that Ms Tian's killing was "a shocking tragedy".

Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small said a number of lines of interest were being followed, but information from the public was vital.

"We're at the very very early stages of this tragic incident and we really need that community to rally around and come together.

"We're asking for any sightings of anybody in and around the Glenvil Lane area between the hours of 9am and 5.30pm." No sightings of Ms Tian had been reported between these times.

Mr Small said while a botched burglary was being considered, there were many possibilities for what happened and police were keeping an open mind.

He would not be drawn on a cause of death or specific injuries and said a pathologist's report was due back last night.

Mr Small said Ms Tian was a "loved mother and grandmother" and her family was devastated and grieving heavily.

Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small speaking to media.

Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small appealed for information from the public. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

He said police were conducting a thorough scene examination and would still be at their home for days to come.

"Police can't solve this on their own, we need the wider community to come forward with information and help police.

"We're reliant on the public to assist police to actually solve this crime, it's information from you - members of the public - that's actually going to solve this crime," Mr Small said.

Police have set up the number 0800 772 271 for people to provide information to the Operation Nepal homicide investigation team. People also provide information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.