Neighbour describes 'hysterical' screaming before baby died in Te Kūiti

A neighbour of a family whose baby is at the centre of a homicide investigation in Te Kūiti has told Newshub he heard "hysterical" screaming on Saturday afternoon.

Waikato police launched a homicide inquiry on Sunday after a baby boy died following "violent, blunt-force trauma".

The 10-month-old was brought unconscious to Te Kuiti Hospital on Saturday afternoon, but was unable to be resuscitated. Staff alerted police, who say an initial examination showed the baby boy suffered traumatic injuries.

Now, neighbour Dave Roebuck said he heard a commotion at 2pm on Saturday.

"I heard this screaming which can only be described as hysterical, then a red car came racing down the street, picked up the person screaming, and they left again in the vehicle," he described.

He told Newshub there was little time to help after the woman's mid-afternoon outburst.

"By the time anybody could react it was all over," he said.

Police at the scene on Monday.
Police at the scene on Monday. Photo credit: Newshub

Police remained outside the property on Monday, and Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said police believe "these injuries were not accidental".

Waitomo District Mayor John Robertson told Newshub "everyone is really cut up about this".

"No child should be abused in our society in New Zealand or in Te Kūiti or wherever, just very sad," he said.

A scene examination is ongoing at the rented home in the quiet cul-de-sac. Neighbours say the family had moved in around a year ago.

"I've never heard a baby there. You'd be lucky if you heard kids there... people coming and going. I just thought they worked. It's probably quietened off in the last few weeks," neighbour Charles Turner said.

A number of officers have been brought in from out of town to work on this homicide.

Det Insp Pitkethley on Sunday said they had been speaking to the baby's family members, including his parents, as they establish how he came to be so badly injured.

"The investigation is in its early stages and there is a lot of work ahead of us as we gather information," he said yesterday.

"If we think, if we suspect there is something going wrong in a household we need to report it," Robertson told Newshub.

"We need to report it, otherwise an innocent little baby can suffer."

A plea that should resonate across all New Zealand as this police inquiry ramps up.