Sara Niethe: Search and rescue teams comb bushland in hopes of solving 20yo crime

Search and rescue teams are combing bushland south of Thames in the hopes of solving a 20-year-old crime.

Sara Niethe died in 2003 and her killer was convicted but her body was never found. Today, her children reopened the search for her.

Heading deep into the bush at Kaihere near Thames, search and rescue teams have a long day ahead.

Soon they stumble across what could be vital evidence. They're painstakingly cataloguing it all as they comb the forest.

They're searching for signs of Sara Niethe who went missing in 2003. The mother-of-three was killed by her partner who went to jail for it, but her body was never found.

For some of the search and rescue team it's literally an uphill battle and they're searching for evidence that's now 20 years old.

The search is the brainchild of a former detective sergeant who was in charge of homicides in Waikato.

Eager to solve the mystery before the 20th anniversary of her disappearance, he put together the teams.

"My in-laws are from Ngatea and they knew the family and what happened back then as well and that's why I'm here," said Te Kauwhara firefighter Cory Rees.

The teams familiarize themselves with evidence from the case. But the chances of finding her or her car are a complete unknown.

They are even draining ponds known to Sara's killer for any sign of her. Or at the very least to narrow down where she could be.

The pain is still raw for Sara's children and those who knew her.