Calls flood in with info on Tracey Ann Patient cold case

  • 29/01/2016
Tracey Ann Patient died in 1976
Tracey Ann Patient died in 1976

Forty years after the murder of 13-year-old Tracey Ann Patient, police say they have received dozens of calls offering fresh information on the case.

Police yesterday announced they had been working full-time on the investigation since November last year, with eight detectives chasing up new leads.

Tracey's body was found in a bush on Scenic Dr after she disappeared while walking home from a friend's house in January 1976, with evidence suggesting she had been strangled with a stocking.

The woman who found Tracey's body, former Scenic Dr resident Simone Graham, told the New Zealand Herald the girl was curled up as if sleeping when she came across her.

"There was a young woman, she was very slightly down a bank - it would have been an 18 inches to two-feet gradual slope and she was amongst the bushes at the bottom of this little slope.

"My dog was standing on top of the bank and I stood there, so I really looked down on her and she was slightly curled - she could have been asleep in a very loose sort of position - her knees were up, her legs were up but not hugging up to her chest and her head was bent over and she was facing towards my left and I could see the side of her face and her hair."

She said she ran back to her house to call police, though it took four calls before a police car arrived three hours later.

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.

Since the announcement the case had been reopened, police say they have received almost 100 calls from the public.

"We've heard from people who have never called police before and have told us that they've thought about the case for the past 40 years," says Detective Inspector John Sutton.

"We have quite a number of suspect nominations and pieces of information from people about suspicious behaviour they witnessed at the time."

People had also come forward with various theories about what the number 126040 means, Det Insp Sutton said.

Anyone with any information on the case can contact police on 0800 000 111.

3 News