Information from the community helped police find Jude Coxhead, 62.
A Tauranga woman missing at Wairere Falls, has been found dead, Waikato police say.
Searchers were combing difficult terrain on Tuesday as they looked for Jude Coxhead, 62. She hadn’t been seen since August 12, when her family said she left her Tauranga home.
A major search had been underway since Sunday with police, Land Search and Rescue, DOC, FENZ, and the Rapid Relief team searching the Wairere Falls track near where the gold coloured Nissan Tida that Coxhead was driving was found.
On Tuesday afternoon, Waikato police Senior Sergeant, Aaron Fraser said they had located Coxhead.
She was found “below the waterfall” but not at the base of the waterfall, police have said.
“There are no suspicious circumstances in relation to the death, which will be referred to the Coroner,” Waikato Police said in a statement.
“Police would like to thank the members of the public who provided information which assisted in locating the woman. Police extend our condolences to the family.”
Earlier in the day, Coxhead’s son, Luke Coxhead, was at the search site earlier, saying ”all I want to say is just thank you to the emergency services and crew searching. We’re really grateful”.
A jacket and shoes found earlier at the top of the Wairere Falls were believed to belong to Coxhead, Fraser said.
The jacket had been placed on her car which was parked at the carpark by popular scenic track near Matamata by a couple seen on CCTV, who have since been in contact with police.
”We’ve got specialist teams, but obviously it’s very difficult terrain, and they’re doing a methodical and slow search,” Fraser said.
About 20 staff from the various emergency services in the Waikato area had been involved in a search along the Wairere Falls track which was used by hundreds of walkers.
The search began midday Monday and restarted again around 9am on Tuesday,
“There’s a lot involved…it can get quite intense,” a Land Search and Rescue volunteer at the site on Tuesday morning said.
Staff had been keeping an eye out for any odd signs or distinct footprints, with the help GPS, radio communications, dogs and a drone team.
Friends of Coxhead had appealed to the public to help in the search, describing her as a “sweetie” and “a bubbly lovely person”.
Olympic showjumper Lucy Olphert had said Coxhead was a family friend.
“Jude was my darling neighbour growing up and is very special to our family.”
Another friend, Carol Grace, had told Stuff Coxhead was a “strong capable woman with a loving and supportive nature”.