World

Missing real estate agent turns home into crime scene

A missing New Zealand real estate agent was due to show a property on the day she disappeared, and the home is now at the centre of the investigation.

Yanfei Bao, a real estate agent in Christchurch, was due to show a potential buyer through a property in Hornby when she disappeared five days ago.

The owners of the home, who chose to remain anonymous, said they were “shocked and stunned” to learn the house they lived in for 37 years before recently relocating to Australia was set to undergo forensic examination.

Speaking from Australia, the couple told local publication Stuff the estate agent was due to show someone through their home on Wednesday morning — the day she disappeared.

The couple learned police were at their property late on Sunday. No one from the investigation had contacted them.

While the scrutiny of their house was frustrating, they said they just hoped Bao — whose case is still being treated as a kidnapping, rather than a homicide — was found safe and well.

“We just hope everything turns out all right,” they said.

The Hornby property and the surrounding areas were now of “significant interest” to investigators “and residents can expect to see a significant police presence there in the coming days”, police said.

The property was due to go to auction this Wednesday but that has been delayed. It’s understood at least one open home has been held at the house since Bao disappeared.

A man accused of kidnapping Bao was arrested at Christchurch International Airport on Saturday, with no bags and a one-way flight to China booked.

He was charged with unlawfully taking Bao away without her consent, with intent to cause her to be confined. He was granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody.

Police urged members of the public who had seen the man’s car — a silver Mitsubishi sedan with the number plate DPH101 — in the days since Bao went missing to come forward.

Police said they were still “trying to locate (Bao) and bring her home safe and well”.

The Hornby property and the surrounding areas were now of “significant interest” to investigators “and residents can expect to see a significant police presence there in the coming days”, police said.

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