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Girl's death an open question for police

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/04/2016

Police are still trying to establish what happened to a 17-year-old girl found dead by the side of the road in Otorohanga.

After a day of investigation they're not saying firmly that a vehicle was involved, a theory that was prompted by damage to a nearby fence.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson said police were keeping an open mind as to how the young woman came to be at the side of State Highway 3, after her body was discovered about 6.30am on Sunday.

The scene examination is ongoing, with pathologists and other experts working to establish how the young woman died.

Det Sen Sgt Patterson said while it was possible a vehicle was involved, he reiterated police were keeping an open mind.

"We expect that as our investigation progresses we will find out more about how she came to be there and the circumstances of her death."

In an earlier statement, police described the death as a motor vehicle incident.

Otorohanga Mayor Max Baxter told NZ Newswire: "One assumes she is a local. If she is, it's going to hurt our community heavily".

"In a town of 2700 the death of a young person is really significant. There's a lot of speculation (about what happened) and no doubt as the identity is revealed the shock wave will ripple through."

There had been a loud party at a house near where the police were investigating, Otorohanga and Waitomo Motels owner Karam Kaur told NZ Newswire.

However, she could not see anything from the motel on Sunday morning. Diversions remain in place.

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