The murderer of a 69-year-old West Auckland woman would have left her home with blood-spattered clothing, police revealed today.
Cun Xiu Tian lived with her daughter and son-in-law, who found her dead when they came home from work on Friday.
Her killer remains on the loose as police enter their fourth day of investigations.
A post mortem found she died after being struck multiple times in the head and face.
Speaking from the cordoned-off driveway today, detective senior sergeant Roger Small said the offender or offenders may have tried to wash, burn or get rid of their blood-stained shoes and clothing.
Ten more officers, including specialist criminal profilers, have now joined the investigation. They are gathering and reviewing CCTV footage from the wider Te Atatu area, and continuing to go door to door.
Police said intelligence analysts were continuing to examine any suspicious or criminal behaviour reported to police in the days leading up to the attack on Ms Tian.
National List MP Alfred Ngaro, who lives less than 100m from Ms Tian's home, said neighbours were shocked.
"She was a quiet woman, kept to herself and so did her family. One old lady who'd walked past with her dog and said hello to her ... said she was a nice woman and a good person. So from those who did know of her, she was a good person and a kind person."
Mr Ngaro said it was important the community support one another and keep an eye out.
Another resident, Stevielea Larsen, said her friend heard some disturbing sounds on the day Ms Tian was found dead.
"About 12 o'clock they reckon there were some screams, like not just your ordinary screams. She didn't think a lot of it at the time. And then at about 5.30 they heard another which might have been the person finding the body."
Police investigate possibility of burglaries
Speaking yesterday outside Ms Tian's home Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small said she had died from a "vicious assault" but would not say whether a weapon had been used.
"As a result of the post mortem examination yesterday I can [tell] you that Mrs Tian has suffered a particularly violent death in her own home. She's been struck about the head multiple times and that's been the cause of the death.
"I won't be drawn on any further specifics in regards to that at the risk of comprimising the investigation."
Police have a team of 25 staff working on the homicide and are investigating whether it was a burglary gone wrong.
Mr Small said there was a possibility the offender had attempted to break into other properties in Te Atatu before Friday.
"That is something we're looking at strongly. Yes we're always keeping an open mind in regards to what's possibly happened. As you can appreciate establishing whether property's missing from the address is not easy. We can't bring the family back into the scene for forensic purposes but we're keeping an open mind and that's one possibility we're looking at."
Police want nearby residents to check their properties for any unusual markings on doors or windows.
Age Concern chief executive Robyn Scott said assaults like this shatter older people's confidence in their surroundings.
"This is a tragedy of huge proportion. It serves to undermine the confident of older people right across New Zealand who may well feel more vulnerable as a result.
"Unfortunately assaults of this kind and assault on older people of any sort, make older people more fearful and more concerned that they are not safe in their own homes."
A church in Te Atatu is organising a candle-lit vigil for the community on Tuesday night.