Police searching for items as part of the investigation into the death of baby Ru in Lower Hutt now say they were deliberately removed from the scene, which was 'cleaned' before officers arrived.
Toddler Ruthless-Empire Ahipene-Wall, also known as Baby Ru, died just before he would have turned two. It was found he had suffered violent injuries at a home in the suburb of Taitā before he was taken to Hutt Hospital on 22 October.
Detective Inspector Nick Pritchard has now issued a new appeal for anyone who had seen items connected to the case, or who knows where they are to come forward:
"Do the right thing by Baby Ru," he said.
A hard drive, power back up unit and duvet cover were among the items they want to find, which police believe were taken from the Poole Street house.
"We believe that the items were deliberately removed from the Poole Street, Taitā property and have subsequently been concealed or disposed of," detective Pritchard said in a statement.
"Attempts have been made to clean and alter the crime scene before police arrived ... people seen using a grey-green 1994 Nissan Sentra, registration TE6972, were responsible for disposing of this evidence."
Investigators were continuing to build up a timeline of the "persons of interest" and the use of the Nissan Sentra around the time of Ru's death. And it was now thought the Sentra had been driven to and from the Poole Street house three times after Ru was taken to hospital, and before officers arrived at the address, police said.
A narrow length of fabric was also being searched for.
"Although not a direct cause of his death, the fact that such an item was around his neck is incredibly concerning, and we appeal for information from anyone who has seen this item or what it was used for," Pritchard said.
What the police are looking for:
- Blue duvet cover
- Long length of fabric
- Provision-ISR NVR5-8200PX+ DRV hard drive unit
- Eaton 5E UPS 650VA/360W power back up unit and two New Zealand electrical plug outlets
"The co-operation of our three people of interest is vital to us understanding the truth of what happened to Baby Ru, and ultimately holding those responsible to account," Pritchard said.
"We continue to support the wider whānau and we know this has been extremely difficult for them."
Anyone with information was asked to call Police on 105, or to visit their Update Report page online at 105.police.govt.nz and quote file number 231022/1708. Information could also be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or on their website.