A decomposed body found at a dangerous West Auckland surf beach on Good Friday (April 22, 2011) has been identified as Unitec student Rhyan Rego (21), who went missing at Muriwai Beach in early April.
An autopsy had been carried out and dental records did not prove conclusive, Orewa Police Detective Sergeant Roger Small said.
“We identified him through a fingerprint in the end. Despite the level of decomposition, one of the fingerprint experts did a fantastic job and managed to get a fingerprint of his right thumb and we were able to match that to his fingerprints.
“We strongly suspected all along that it would be Rhyan Rego. It was a little bit frustrating that it took so long but we got there in the end,” he told NZPA.
The body had been in the water for quite some time and Mr Small thought Police would have to use DNA evidence, which could have taken between one and four weeks, he said.
The body was cremated on May 4 and the case referred to the coroner.
A funeral service was held on May 6 at the Good Chapel Church in Balmoral.
“Our enquiries are still ongoing and we will be forwarding our report to the coroner in due course,” Mr Small said.
Mr Rego was last seen paddling in shallow water at Muriwai Beach on April 7. He was usually reluctant to go into the water, as he could not swim.
His mother Ernestine told NZPA that it was a difficult time for the family. She said the police would not reveal the identity of the body until they were sure.
“The police have been very good with keeping us informed about what is going on,” she said.
Rhyan’s father Vincent was contacted by the Police over Easter, who informed him that a body had been found at South Head, north of Muriwai Beach.
“We just waited and braced ourselves for whatever was to come. The past few weeks has given us time to absorb what has happened,” he said.