Man charged after woman found dead in Auckland's Mt Albert

Source: 1 NEWS

A man has been charged with sexual violation and murder after the body of Lena Zhang Harrap was found in Auckland on Wednesday afternoon.

Lena Zhang Harrap.

Police launched a homicide investigation on Thursday after the discovery by a member of the public who had been walking along a track on Ōwairaka/Mt Albert.

Investigators said on Thursday they were seeking "a person of interest" who was seen on CCTV walking in the area that morning.

"It’s important that we identify and locate this male as we believe he can assist our investigation," Detective Inspector Aaron Pascoe had said.

Pascoe said on Friday due to a "significant amount" of information from the public to identify the "person of interest" a man had been located in a vehicle about 1.30am and was arrested. 

The man, 31, has been charged with murder and sexual violation and will be appearing in the Auckland District Court on Friday. 

Police are appealing for sightings of this Hyundai vehicle over the past few days.

Zhang Harrap's family have been told of the arrest and Pascoe said he also hoped it would provide some reassurence to the Mt Albert community.

"This was a sickening and senseless attack on a vulnerable member of our community, which we know disturbed and angered a lot of people.

"While nothing will bring Lena back to her family, we hope today’s arrest provides a degree of comfort and reassurance knowing the person allegedly responsible for her brutal murder is in custody where he belongs.

"We want to acknowledge and thank the public for their assistance in providing valuable information which led to an arrest in this homicide investigation."

Zhang Harrap had left her Mt Albert home for a walk and was reported missing by her family at 1pm after she failed to return.

Flowers laid near where Lena Zhang Harrap was found at a walkway in Mt Albert.

Pascoe earlier said due to the scene, how she was found, and from a post mortem, that she had been a victim of foul play. 

Although no one else was being sought in relation to Zhang Harrap's death, Pascoe said inquiries were ongoing in its homicide investigation.

As a result, investigators are appealing for anyone with sightings of a white Hyundai station wagon, registration EGZ962, since Wednesday.

Anyone who saw this vehicle over the past few days is asked to contact the Operation Daleyza investigation team by phoning 0800 325 399 (0800 DALEYZA).