By 3 News online staff
Police have arrested a 16-year-old youth in connection to the serious assault on a five-year-old tourist in Turangi last week.
He has been charged with sexual violation, aggravated wounding and burglary.
The young girl, whose family is on holiday from Europe, was attacked on the night of Wednesday, December 21 in a caravan at Club Habitat Holiday Park in Turangi.
Police said the girl sustained significant injuries to her head and body in what they called a sexually-motivated attack.
A detailed examination of the crime scene was carried out over three days and a team of between 20 and 30 police staff have been working on the investigation since the attack.
The youth will appear in the Taupo Youth Court at 2pm tomorrow.
The family of the girl has been informed and are said to be overwhelmed and relieved by the news.
They wish to maintain their anonymity and privacy and intend to continue their holiday in New Zealand. They have also expressed their thanks for the overwhelming support of the Police, Waikato Hospital staff and Victim Support.
"We are very relieved at this news and want to thank the police, particularly those who gave up their precious time when they would usually be with their families,” they said in a statement.
“We can’t thank them enough. They were meticulous, thorough and caring. They are a credit to New Zealand.
“We heard today too that the Turangi community raised more than $13,000 for our daughter. We are again amazed at the generosity of New Zealanders and thank this community. We know what happened was a random act of evil and will never hold Turangi responsible for it. We feel their love and support tonight.”
The Bay of Plenty Police Field Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Mark Loper also expressed his gratitude towards the Turangi community.
“I am extremely pleased for the family of this little girl and for the good community of Turangi that we have been able to make an arrest within a week of the incident.
“This case has really touched the hearts of so many people in New Zealand and staff from the Police and ESR have worked with dogged determination to bring about an early resolution. That has included giving up precious family time over Christmas for which I must sincerely thank the staff and their families.
"I also want to extend my thanks to the good people of Turangi who have given us tremendous support, rallying around the family and the Police."
source: newshub archive