Police say they now believe the fatal Kaikohe home invasion "started as a sexually motivated burglary".
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 have launched a homicide investigation and are seeking a man who fled the Taraire Street address on foot, leaving behind some shoes and clothing.
Now on Sunday police have released further details about the events leading up to her death - along with the first image of the offender.
"All occupants of the home are female, and we anticipate the offender has targeted the property for this reason," a police spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday.
"The offender was discovered hiding in one of the occupant's bedrooms."
They added occupants at the Taraire Street address noticed "a pattern of odd occurrences" in the lead-up to the incident.
"This includes clothing being discovered disturbed and interference with sensor lights and porch light bulbs," the spokesperson said.
"An incident was also reported at the property in 2022 which involved someone reaching in through a bedroom window.
"While Police do not currently have evidence that this incident was connected, it cannot be ruled out."
Investigators are now looking through incidents in the area over the past year that might be similar and warn the community to remain alert.
"If you have experienced any disturbances at your property that are similar to what has been described and you have not reported these to Police, we need you to get in touch."
Police have also released the first image of the offender. The image comes from a video recorded by one of the victims during the home invasion, and shows the offender from behind.
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.
Police also released images of items left at the scene including size US13 New Balance sneakers and faded black cut-off jean shorts, with a fly made up of buttons that include a 'B' shaped logo.
Police believe someone in the community will know the offender and are appealing for them to come forward and share what they know.
"If you recognise this man, or if you know someone who matches the description... please - we need you to speak with us," police said.
"Our top priority is locating this offender and holding him to account, and the Kaikohe community is the key to solving this crime."
A dedicated phone number has been set up so anyone with information can get it to investigators quickly and easily.
You can speak with someone from the investigations team by calling 0800 LINDAW (0800 546329), or on 105 if you can't get through on the 0800 number.
You can also share information anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.