Police are calling for sightings of purple car they believe is at the centre of an alleged fatal hit and run on the outskirts of New Plymouth.
Police believe 45-year-old Anne McCullough was killed on Frankley Road outside New Plymouth before being taken to a scenic reserve 10 kilometres away.
As New Plymouth police spent Labour Day searching for clues to how a woman out jogging could be hit, killed and then dumped in a car, those closest to the victim were trying to come to terms with an innocent life lost.
"She had the most beautiful smile. I don't think she's every hurt anybody in her life, and that's the tragedy," said David Lean, a family friend.
Lean said she was part of his family. She baby-sat his four children, then married and had two children of her own.
"A young family and living in a community that decided that's what their future was, and in the course of one afternoon it's all disappeared."
The McCullough family released a statement expressing their grief.
"This is a very trying time for everyone involved and we are grateful for all of the support we have received from throughout New Zealand and overseas," the family said.
McCullough loved sport. She was testing out her reconstructed knee on the road when she was allegedly hit, then picked up and put in a car.
The body of McCullough was found in the back seat of a car at a picnic spot called Meeting of the Waters, about 10 minutes' drive from where she was allegedly hit and killed.
A 27-year-old man has been arrested and charged with manslaughter. His first court appearance on the charge will be on Thursday.
New Plymouth detective Grant Coward spoke to ONE News near where he believes McCullough was hit.
"For us as investigators it's a tragic case and we're doing our utmost to ensure the right result is obtained," Coward said.
He wants to know if anyone has seen the car McCullough was found in, a 1987 Holden Commodore.
Frankley Road is narrow, windy but it was a sunny day and visibility was good.
"There's just no explanation for this whatsoever. I guess we have to wait and see," Lean said.
The search for answers will take some time.