Emma Campbell, disappeared May 1st 2010, Body discovered March 10, 2012, Port Hills, Christchurch, New Zealand
Emma Campbell, 29, left her home in Bryndwr near Christchurch in New Zealand at about 5.20 am on Saturday, May 1st, 2010 and went to the Shell Service Station in Riccarton Road where she bought gasoline for her car at around 5.30 am.
The Blue 1994 Toyota Corona was found at 7.30 am down the side of Dyers Pass Road in Christchurch's Port Hills by passers by in trick foliage haven crashed off the road. Emma's personal possessions were in it including wallet, driver's licence, keys and several religious books.
When the Police arrived they found Emma’s red shoes further down the bank towards the track, her watch was on a rock but there was no sign of her anywhere near the car crash site.
Police were looking for two people seen in a light-coloured, square-shaped car reversing up a hill near where Emma's car crashed on that same morning. "They are not suspects (in Miss Campbell's disappearance), or anything like that, because we don't have any," said Detective Senior Sergeant John Rae.
Investigators said that whilst the "low impact" crash by Miss Campbell's car may have had the initial appearance of an accident, in which she may have walked away or stumbled away injured, they believed it was now more likely the disappearance was staged. Rae said "From two points of view, one is that (Miss Campbell) has staged it, or someone else has become involved and they have staged it - those options are both still open - and probably the more likely scenarios than just an accidental running off the road and her making off into the scrub. There's no preference of one over the other."
Emma's disappearance sparked a massive search of the Port Hills but with no luck. Tracking dogs and a helicopter with FLIR heat seeking capability were deployed but the only heat signature was that of a deer.
On March 2010, 2012, nearly two years later, a hunter looking for his dog found a body on a steep scrub-covered ravine on the Port Hills in a very secluded area, less than 1 mile from the location of Emma's Toyota. Investigators said "It was a fair old climb down, not only to get through the terrain but then to have to bash her way through the bush was pretty difficult". The body needed to be brought out by helicopter due to the thick undergrowth.
An autopsy failed to find proof it was her body, but dental records were located which identified it as being Emma. Police also confirmed that the colour and style of clothing she was wearing, a ring on her finger matches what she was wearing in the service station closed-circuit television video.
According to the NZ Herald there were reports that Emma had a history of staging things and had left her job two days prior to her disappearance.
The police dismissed any suspicions of foul play and assumed Emma just fell whilst on a morning stroll to get help after she crashed the car into bushes. But reading the details behind the case, throws up some strange facts. Was Emma Campbells's death a simple suicide with a staged car crash? Why why did searchers with sniffer dogs and infra red detectors fail to pick up her body less than a mile from the car? How did her body end up in search a difficult to reach area where even a chopper was needed to remove the remains?