Missing without a trace: What happened to Jamie Kaiwai?

You may not recognise her name, but Jamie Kaiwai has been missing from Tolaga Bay for more than four months. The 27-year-old mother-of-one vanished in October 2019. 

Her family refuse to give up their hunt for answers, despite being told her death isn't suspicious. Her grandfather Eru Kaiwai says they were told by police she was seen on the iconic Tolaga Bay wharf.

"They didn't say she jumped in the sea, but well I suppose they wanted you to say that she went into the sea."

But with no suicide note, no body and no answers, they aren't convinced Jamie took her own life. 

Jamie suffered from mental illness and was a cannabis user. Her cousin Jonique Oli-Alainu'uese believes that may have impacted the way police have investigated her case.

While police have sent away some of Jamie Kaiwai's clothing, they didn't take fingerprints from two potential crime scenes - her car or the room where she was living. 

Oli-Alainu'uese is disappointed with the police response to her case. 

"I'm not asking them for a miracle. I'm actually just asking for the bare minimum. And I feel like what they've given us isn't even the bare minimum."

Jamie went missing on the weekend of the Tuia 250 commemorations in Tolaga Bay, yet the timeline to her disappearance isn't clear. And while police took her laptop and phone away for testing, they couldn't gain access to either.

But that didn't stop her cousin, who managed to access information and get into her Google account. She found questionable travel in the weeks leading up to her disappearance, long trips up and down the coast with short stopovers.

Jamie had suffered from mental illness the year before and her family worries that may have meant her case was viewed differently to other disappearances.

Police have told The Hui the case is still open and are awaiting the result of testing. They believe they have done everything they can, and expressed their aroha to Kaiwai's family.

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