Beckenridge's car 'like a tin can that had been squashed' when found at bottom of ocean

5 days ago 28
Police divers connect  floats to John Beckenridge’s wrecked car   adjacent   Curio Bay successful  2015.
John Hawkins
Police divers connect floats to John Beckenridge’s wrecked car adjacent Curio Bay successful 2015.
  • Mike Zhao-Beckenridge was picked up from schoolhouse astatine lunchtime by his stepfather John connected March 13, 2015.
  • Apart from 1 sighting 3 days later, the brace were ne'er seen again
  • Two months later, Beckenridge’s car was pulled from the unsmooth waters of Curio Bay, Southland
  • No forensic grounds was recovered successful the car, but determination was besides nary grounds the brace ever near Southland
  • Over 2 weeks, a coroner volition find whether the brace are "likely dead"

John Beckenridge’s bluish VW Toureg was “like a tin tin that had been squashed down” erstwhile discovered by constabulary divers on the rugged Catlins Coast.

It was recovered connected its roof, 4.3m beneath the aboveground and wedged betwixt 2 boulders. It was missing the bonnet, each doors, windows and immoderate integrative panelling, Senior Sergeant Bruce Adams told a coroner’s proceeding successful Beckenridge’s disappearance, on with his stepson, Mike Zhao-Beckenridge, 11.

Beckenridge, 64, took Mike from his Invercargill schoolhouse astir lunchtime connected March 13, 2015.

They were seen aggregate times astir the Catlins country betwixt March 15 and 18.

Mike Zhao-Beckenridge and John Beckenridge pictured successful  happier times on  Wellington’s Oriental Bay.
Supplied
Mike Zhao-Beckenridge and John Beckenridge pictured successful happier times on Wellington’s Oriental Bay.

On the day of March 20, the brace sent a bid of “concerning” substance messages to friends, and to Mike’s mother. This was the past grounds to suggest the brace were alive.

Two days later, car parts and covering belonging to some started to lavation ashore on adjacent coastline.

Adams and chap divers were incapable to find the conveyance owed to “very trying conditions”.

It took a week for the oversea to settee capable to let the squad to dive connected the vehicle.

“We were evidently hoping that the hunt teams would find them wandering live determination else. But with uncovering the conveyance similar that we were hoping [for] the adjacent champion outcome, that they were secured wrong the car – and that wasn't the case,” Adams said.

A chopper  is utilized  to propulsion  Beckenridge’s wrecked car   from the ocean.
John Hawkins/Stuff
A chopper is utilized to propulsion Beckenridge’s wrecked car from the ocean.

He said the achromatic water, monolithic waves and marine beingness would person lone accelerated the bodies’ decomposition.

Deirdre Elsmore, counsel for the police, asked what benignant of deterioration would beryllium expected aft 9 days successful the water.

“Parts of the assemblage person been consumed, parts person been mislaid oregon breached off, and mislaid oregon moved away. Very brushed insubstantial has gone. You're starting to extremity up with skeletal remains,” Adams said, apologising to the household for his graphic description.

The bay acted similar a washing machine, Adams said, with kelp, silt and achromatic h2o starring to highly debased visibility.

Underwater images of John Beckenridge’s car   taken by an unmanned camera suspended from a chopper  connected  March 27, 2015.
Supplied
Underwater images of John Beckenridge’s car taken by an unmanned camera suspended from a chopper connected March 27, 2015.

“It simply wasn't harmless for america to bash what we would usually telephone an expended hunt successful that bay country itself, idiosyncratic was going to get hurt.”

It was much than 5 weeks aboriginal erstwhile a interruption successful the upwind yet allowed them to hoist the car from the water.

Detective Sergeant Christopher Lucy, who examined the vehicle, said the interior of the car, particularly the seats, were “completely squashed”.

Beckenridge’s car   was “completely squashed arsenic  if being tossed aorund successful  the surf and forced onto rocks”, Detective Sergeant Christopher Lucy says.
Supplied
Beckenridge’s car was “completely squashed arsenic if being tossed aorund successful the surf and forced onto rocks”, Detective Sergeant Christopher Lucy says.

Lucy said determination was nary motion of immoderate forensic grounds – specified arsenic DNA, humor staining oregon assemblage parts – nor were determination immoderate signs of harm that could person been caused by bodies erstwhile the conveyance went disconnected a cliff, mostly owed to however overmuch of the car was not recovered.

“It would beryllium intolerable to archer whether the harm to these seats had been caused by a value wrong the car astatine the clip of interaction oregon from being smashed astir connected the rocks,” helium said.

The proceeding continues.

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