Police investigating the fatal home invasion in Kaikohe last week have made a breakthrough, collecting a DNA profile from the scene believed to be linked to the offender.
Linda Woods, 71, was seriously injured during a struggle with the intruder at around 11:30pm on Thursday. Despite efforts from emergency services to revive her, she died at the scene.
Police believe the home invasion started as "sexually motivated burglary" and say the suspect was discovered hiding in one of the occupant's bedrooms.
They have launched a homicide investigation and are seeking a man who fled the Taraire Street address on foot, leaving behind some shoes and clothing.
Detective Inspector Rhys Johnston of Northland CIB says the DNA profile is a "significant piece of evidence" and warned the offender: "We are confident we will identify you at some point."
"We are determined to find this offender so we can get some answers for the victim's family, and put the community's minds at rest," he said in a statement on Monday.
"Police are now making plans to request DNA samples from men who fit the age range and description of the offender so we can eliminate them from our enquiries."
He added the suspect can lessen the impact of their actions by coming forward now.
"It's the right thing to do for this family, who have already suffered so much," he said.
"It's the right thing to do for our community, who are rightly alarmed after this incident.
"We are ready to talk to you - just come forward."
Police are again appealing to anyone in the community who recognises the description of the offender or the clothing left at the scene to speak with them.
The clothing left at the scene includes size US13 New Balance Versi Comfort Ride sneakers, colour dark grey and black, along with grey/faded black cut-off jean shorts, with a button fly made up of black buttons that include a 'B' shaped logo.
He is described as male, Māori or Polynesian, aged somewhere between 40-60 years old, and is solidly built.
He has dark-coloured short hair speckled with grey, possibly curly.
Along with the shorts, he was wearing a dark-coloured basketball-style singlet, with thin red and white piping around the sleeves and collar.
He was wearing another short-sleeved top under the singlet.
"Please contact Police with any information via our dedicated phone number, 0800 LINDAW (0800 546329)," Det Insp Johnston said.
"We have members of the investigation team ready to speak with you."
Information can also be shared by calling 105, or can be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.