Body found in forest identified as Rotorua woman, missing for 16 days

News from NZ Police
A body discovered in a forest area close to SH38 near Murupara has been formally identified as 51-year-old Michelle Hoffman-Tamm from Rotorua. Her family have been advised.

Forensic examination of an address in Holland Street is expected to continue for a couple more days.

News from NZ Police – November 23
A body was discovered this afternoon in an area of forest close to SH38, about 10kms from Murupara. The identity of the body is unknown at this stage. Police investigating the disappearance of 51-year-old missing woman Michelle Hoffman-Tamm received information yesterday which led to their interest in the area around SH38.

But they are not in a position to confirm whether Michelle’s disappearance and today’s discovery are linked.

Detective Senior Zane Smith said: “We have formal identification processes to now go through and it would be wrong of me to speculate before those processes are complete. We have been continually updating Michelle’s family on the progress of our investigation and of course we have advised them that we have located a body, but they too understand that we cannot jump to conclusions.”

The body has been removed from the scene and will now be taken for a post mortem examination to establish cause of death. Forensic examination has continued at SH38 but Police hope to have completed work at that location later today. Police also have an interest in a house in Holland Street which will be subject to examination over the coming days.

Michelle’s bike was located yesterday by some shops at the intersection of Te Ngae Road and Basley Road, Rotorua.

Detective Senior Sergeant Smith said: “We have received valuable support and information from the community of Rotorua but we still have a lot of work to do so we need that support and information flow to continue.”

Police want to hear from anyone who was in the area of Holland Street between 6pm on Wednesday 7, November and Sunday, 11 November and in Victoria Street between Sunday 11, November and Monday 12 November.

Police are particularly interested in the movements of a two-tone light-coloured Subaru Legacy stationwagon between the 7th and the 12th travelling around Rotorua or between Rotorua, Whakatane and Murupara.

A 44-year-old woman from Rotorua appeared at Rotorua District Court today charged with assault. She received interim name suppression and has been remanded in custody until Monday, 3 December.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Rotorua Police on 07 349 9400. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

News from NZ Police – November 22
Police investigating the disappearance two weeks ago of Michelle Hoffman-Tamm are tonight examining an area of interest between Rotorua and Murupara. A woman has been arrested.

Michelle was last seen on 7 November when she left her Rotorua home in Philip Street on her bicycle. Significant developments in the investigation this morning led Police to a rural location close to SH38 between Rotorua and Murupara at approximately 5pm this afternoon. That location has been secured and will be subject to forensic examination by ESR.

A house in Rotorua will also undergo forensic examination along with any other areas of significance that are identified. This combined work is expected to last a few days

Michelle’s red bike has also been located today at a third location in a Rotorua suburb.

A 44-year-old woman has been charged with assault and will appear at Rotorua District Court tomorrow morning. Further charges are likely.

Police want to hear from anyone who was in the area of Holland Street between 6pm on Wednesday 7, November and Sunday, 11 November and in Victoria Street between Sunday 11, November and Monday 12 November.

Police are particularly interested in the movements of a two-tone light-coloured Subaru Legacy stationwagon between the 7th and the 12th travelling around Rotorua or between Rotorua, Whakatane and Murupara.

Michelle’s family are being kept informed.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Rotorua Police on 07 349 9400. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

News from NZ Police – November 21
The sister of a missing Rotorua woman made a heartfelt plea at a media conference marking two weeks since her disappearance.

Michelle Hoffman-Tamm had spent most of the afternoon with Jan Donlan on Wednesday, 7 November helping her around the house. Michelle then left her sister’s house, briefly popped home and then told her partner she was going up the road to visit some friends. There have been no confirmed sightings of her since.

Jan describes Michelle as a very generous person. “She loves helping people; anything that anyone needs she’s there.” Michelle is known as the local Neighbourhood Watch person and regularly takes care of people’s gardens, mows their lawns and helps with home maintenance.

It is completely out of character for Michelle to go missing and not make contact with her family and she was described by Jan as being in a “very good head space’ when she was last seen.

When asked what message she had for Michelle if she is safe and well somewhere Jan replied: “Wherever you are love, please come home. We miss you, we love you and we can’t cope much more.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Zane Smith commended Michelle’s family for their support of the police operation. “They have been putting up flyers, speaking to family and friends, making their own enquiries and being very proactive in trying to find Michelle.”

There is currently an investigation team of 16 being supported by frontline staff and search and rescue personnel as and when the need arises.

“Michelle is a kind-hearted woman who does a lot for her community and we are hoping that same community will reciprocate her kindness by providing us information that will help is to find her,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Smith.

“We hold grave fears for Michelle and as such this is a priority investigation. No matter how irrelevant the information may seem, pass it to us anyway and let us be the judge.”

Michelle is approximately 5 foot tall, of medium build. She has short dark hair. She left her Philip Street home on her red mountain bike which is also missing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Rotorua Police on 3499400. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

 

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