To at least one passing motorist it appeared, alarmingly, that a woman’s dead body had been dumped at the side of a rural east Auckland road.
A photo taken on January 18 of the scene and provided by a concerned local resident to the Times depicts an overturned blue chair and a large red boxing bag on the ground.
The items are on an area of grass adjacent to a steel guardrail near the Mangemangeroa Gorge Bridge on Whitford Road.
Lying between the chair and boxing bag are what appears to be a woman’s legs, wearing stockings and no shoes.
Her legs are facing the camera and she’s lying on her back with the top half of her body presumably obscured by the guardrail.
An item of blue-coloured clothing is lying over the woman’s right leg and white ‘caution’ tape has been draped loosely around the unusual collection of items.
The resident who provided the photo to the Times says he was alarmed at what he thought was a dead body lying at the roadside.
The police had been alerted to its presence, he says.
Officers had gone to the scene and removed the “body”, but left behind the chair and boxing bag.
The resident says he was concerned the chair had not been removed also, as it had a red substance on it that he thought may have been blood that could provide evidence for any criminal investigation.
He also believed a patch of blood appeared to be on one of the woman’s feet.
The man thought the body had been in the location for several days and would have been seen by other passing motorists.
However, when the Times contacted police for comment on the situation, a spokesperson replied: “Police responded to reports of what appeared to be an unresponsive person [near Mangemangeroa Gorge Bridge] around 2.25pm on Thursday, January 18.
“Upon arrival, police located a pair of mannequin legs, which were removed from the area to prevent further concern.”
The resident was relieved to hear the news, saying, “I’ve been freaking out this whole time!”