Tracey Ann Patient's sister hopes killer had 'horrible life'

Tracey Ann Patient (supplied)
Tracey Ann Patient (supplied)

The sister of murdered teenager Tracey Ann Patient says she hopes the killer has had a "horrible life" after police said they would wind down the investigation into her death.

Police released a statement on Tuesday morning saying they have had to wind down the 40-year-old case without being able to charge anyone.

The case was reopened in November 2015 after what was described as a significant new lead as to who may have killed Tracey in 1976, when she was just 13.

Tracey had been walking back from a friend's house in Henderson, Auckland, but never made it. Her body was found the following day dumped in a bush on Scenic Dr, with pantyhose tied around her neck.

Her sister Debbie Sheppard told Newshub the family is disappointed police were not able to arrest anyone.

"We would love the investigation to continue - obviously we would. We would love this person brought to justice, but we fully understand the police can't continue to commit the resources to Tracey's case after all this time."

Ms Sheppard says her family believe there is a good chance that whoever killed Tracey may have since passed away.

"It would be frustrating if that was the case. If it came to light that was the case, then obviously that person would never be brought to justice - but there's nothing we can do about that."

Two years after Tracey's death, police had an anonymous call telling them a signet ring belonging to Tracey was in a rubbish bin outside an Avondale chemist, though the caller gave no other information. The caller also mentioned the number '126040'.

Police say they have received hundreds of calls from the public since the case was reopened.

"It is disappointing that we have not been able to provide Tracey’s family with the news we wanted to give them," said Detective Inspector John Sutton of Waitemata police.

"We have however spoken with Tracey’s family and have advised them of our outcome and whilst they share our disappointment, they are appreciative of our efforts."

The case remains open, but will not be actively investigated unless new information comes in.

"We really do appreciate the support that the people of New Zealand have shown for Tracey," says Ms Sheppard.

"It's just really comforting to us to know that she's remembered and that people care."

She says she will never be able to forgive whoever murdered her sister.

"I hope he's had a horrible life. I'm saying 'he', could be 'he', 'she', 'they' - I have no idea. But whoever it is, I hope they've had a horrible life."