Remains believed to be those of missing tramper

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Searchers have found human remains on the West Coast believed to be those of a missing tramper.

Otira Gorge

Photo: GNS Science

Marni Sheppeard, 53, was officially reported missing in January after last posting on social media that she was going tramping in November.

On Saturday, human remains were found in the Rolleston River area at Ōtira after a member of the public alerted the police about an entry in a hut’s intentions book.

Senior Sergeant Mark Kirkwood said the subsequent search involved LandSAR volunteers, two CanyonSar teams, helicopters, police dogs and alpine cliff rescuers through high alpine and bush areas, gorges with waterfalls and boulder fields.

“The remains were recovered by a Disaster Victim Identification Unit member and taken to Christchurch where they will undergo an official identification process,” Kirkwood said.

“While an official identification process is yet to be completed, we believe the remains to be that of Ms Sheppeard.”

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Her next of kin in Australia have been informed.

“This is obviously not the outcome we were hoping for but, pending confirmation, will bring some closure to Ms Sheppeard’s family and friends,” he said.

“We would like to thank the dedicated search teams and the members of the public who came forward with information.”


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