2 Oct 2008

WINZ apology after freezer searched for baby

7:55 pm on 2 October 2008

Work and Income has apologised to a grieving mother after police searched her freezer for a dead baby.

Two plain-clothes officers and a victim support worker went to Charlene Kihi's home in Palmerston North last Friday.

Her son, Tuumoto, was buried in July after dying of sudden infant death syndrome.

Work and Income has apologised for telling police that Ms Kihi apparently told an employee that his body was in a freezer.

"Ms Kihi has suffered a great deal already without us adding to it," deputy chief executive Patricia Reade says.

"I can only begin to imagine how Ms Kihi must have felt. I am deeply sorry we got it so very wrong."

Work and Income has blamed the incident on confusion with another case.

However, police say they have not been asked to investigate any other address for a dead baby.

They say they had not been conducting a criminal investigation and looked around the house only after being invited to by Ms Kihi.