An Auckland woman was found dead in a pool of blood after making a chilling phone call to her parents in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Arishma Chand, also known as Singh, lost her life in an apparent 20-minute window after returning to her family home with her partner around 12:45am on Sunday.
She was alive when her partner left. Twenty minutes later, she was found dead by her parents in a pool of blood in one of the bedrooms.
Detective Inspector Gary Lendrum said the 24-year-old mother made a call to her parents saying she believed there was someone outside.
Lendrum said police believe the suspect was known to Chand, and could be a relative – adding that the tragedy could be “a lot closer to home”.
“From the preliminary examination of the scene, we don’t believe that this is a random attack,” Lendrum said on Monday.
“I base that on the fact that no-one has broken into that address. That would indicate to me that Arishma has known the person and had willingly allowed them to come onto the premise.”
A post-mortem was being carried out on Monday to determine the exact cause of death but Lendrum said she was found with “obvious injuries to her body.”
“I don’t believe this is a random attack, I believe that the answer is a lot closer to home,” he said.
“I don’t believe that the community needs to be fearful that there is an intruder out there.”
Lendrum said surveying the nearby industrial area’s CCTV footage would be a big part of the homicide investigation, and interviews with the extended family were conducted on Sunday.
“We are following a number of lines of inquiry into a number of persons that were associated with Arishma.
“We have a large team of detectives working on that and we’re quite determined to get to the bottom of this, and hold the person or persons to account.”
TRAGEDY IN THE NIGHT
Next-door neighbours woke to the sounds of Chand’s mother crying “murder” on Sunday morning.
The 24-year-old returned home with her partner around 12:45am, and her partner soon left.
After a phonecall to her parents, she was found dead in a pool of blood one of the bedrooms at 1.10am.
Chand had a 3-year-old daughter with her former partner, of whom they had joint custody.
A neighbour at the Maich Rd address who asked not to be named said she woke up shortly after 1am with her husband’s phone ringing. Her husband told her to go outside because “Aunty” was crying and saying “murder, murder”. Aunty is used as a term of respect in Indian culture.
“I went outside, our fences are attached, and Aunty put her hand through the fence and held my hand,” the neighbour said.
She asked Chand’s mother what had happened and she replied, “someone has murdered my daughter”.
The neighbour didn’t know the family well but they had recently spent Diwali festivities together.
The woman said the incident had left her scared and shaken.
“At the moment I’m really nervous, and I’m really scared, it makes me scared to go outside, I feel quite scared to walk on the road.”
COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS IN SHOCK
Raj Singh, the administrator of AIEC trust, the childcare centre where the victim worked, said she was a lively and loving member of the team.
He said the death had deeply affected staff at the centre, which looks after children from up to 5 years old.
“It’s very shocking news for us, the staff was in bad shape yesterday and I had to give them a lot of support for them to be able to turn up today, for our children that we are committed to. We’ve got a counsellor coming in shortly.”
Singh said Cand had worked there for a year-and-a-half, and had a 3-year-old daughter.
“[She was] very caring and always smiling and very hard working.
“I think she’ll be remembered as a very smiling, bubbly young girl who loved spending time with children.”
Regina Sami said in a Facebook post: “Who knew our last night’s conversation will be our last. Such a beautiful n bubbly teddy of mine, I miss you teddy. Rest high beautiful till we meet again.”
Barkha Kumar posted, “I cannot believe that you are no longer with us Arish, we will miss you so much.”
Anika Amina Aziz posted, “Can’t believe you are gone, RIP princess we all miss you dearly.”
Police would like to hear from any members of the community that may have been in the Maich Road area of Manurewa on Saturday night.
“There will be someone who knows what happened to Arishma Chand and we urge them to contact Police immediately.”
Anyone with information should contact Counties Manukau Police on (09) 261 1321, or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.