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Eerie similarities between the cases of two missing women, lost five years apart.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 2/04/2017 Caitlin Bishop

NZ police have scaled back the search for Kim Bambus. © NZ Police NZ police have scaled back the search for Kim Bambus. Kim Bambus is the second woman to disappear without a trace from the Mercer Loop walking track at Piha beach in New Zealand’s North island in five years.

It was Friday, March 24 when the 21-year-old nurse went for a run and didn’t come home. Friends spent the evening searching for her before calling the police around 8pm.

Bambus’ car was found at 1am in the car park near the Mercer Loop walking track in West Auckland. Her mobile phone was still inside.

Five years ago it was Cherie Vousden. It was December 22, 2012 and Vousden's car was found at the entrance to the same walking track. The 42-year-old left behind a teenage daughter. She was last seen by tourists walking the track wearing sandals and carrying a bottle of wine.

In both cases, extensive searches have been conducted and neither woman has been found.

Police scaled back the search for Bambus last Wednesday, March 29: "Sadly we have now reached the point where all possible search options have been exhausted," Detective Inspector Hayden Mander told media last week.

"Based on this information, the search has been focused on the Mercer Bay cliff area," he continued. "Inquiries have also looked at previous missing person reports in that area, there is currently nothing to indicate any link whatsoever with any other missing person case."

The disappearance of Bambus has been tough on Vousden's family, bringing back difficult memories and resurfacing the uncertainty and grief and countless unanswered questions.

"I have a lot of empathy for what they’re going through at the moment," Darren Roberts, Vousden's brother, told News.com.au.

"It is certainly on our minds a lot and it has of course come flooding back. We spent many weeks up there searching, after authorities had exhausted their search, with friends and family we carried on searching up there for a good couple of weeks."

In Vousden's case, a coroner's report ruled she drowned. It is believed she may have fallen from the cliffs, which are hundreds of metres high, into the water below.

However, Roberts said "there is always that thought of other scenarios" and Cherie's sister-in-Rachel Vousden doesn't understand why nothing has ever washed up.

"If [the women] are falling into the ocean, why is nothing floating up, why is nothing showing up?" she told the New Zealand Herald.

"These girls are just going about their daily activities ... they can’t just disappear without a trace. I was part of the search [for Cherie], I’ve been out there every year and it’s the same as it was then ... you follow the track, it’s very hard to go off the track, it’s very dense bush."

"That was [Cherie’s] thinking spot, she went there regularly, just like it sounds like with [Kim], she went there regularly running."

Bambus was last seen wearing a dark-coloured jacket and pink exercise top. She was wearing black shorts, with black and white Nike exercise shoes. She was also carrying a large water bottle.

As with Vousden, none of these belongings have been located.

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