The family of the five-year-old girl assaulted in Turangi on Wednesday night have today acknowledged the hundreds of messages they have received from the public.
They want to continue their anonymity for the sake of their daughter but say they are overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown to them.
They have expressed their thanks for the Police, St John Ambulance and Waikato Hospital staff, particularly the surgeons, nurses and anaethetists involved in their daughter’s operation as well as the ongoing care from doctors, nurses and other staff on the ward.
“For us, we want to get on with our daughter’s recovery,” said the parents. Physically she is doing better and better. She started playing and drawing in her bed. We are very touched by the reactions of New Zealanders. This will still be a long journey for us and it will be made that much easier by the loving care and messages we’ve received from throughout New Zealand."
A trust fund has been set up at Westpac Bank, account number 03-1555-0150947-00 under the name “Operation Turangi”.
Gifts have been coming in and are being accepted at collection points at Hamilton Police Station and Waikato Hospital. Given the family will travel back to Europe soon, some will have to remain in New Zealand. They will be donated to other sick children in Waikato Hospital.
Written messages of support can also be emailed to email@example.com and will be passed on to the family.
District Commander Glenn Dunbier met with the family within hours of the crime and said: "These are good people and don't deserve what has happened to them. They are obviously distraught but are being well supported and are determined to move on with family life."
Superintendent Dunbier has also expressed his praise for the community of Turangi and wider New Zealand.
"Turangi is a community with a very strong local identity and the people here are gutted, as I'm sure all New Zealanders are, that this has happened in this town and in our country. The support from the Turangi community and from further afield has been amazing with significant offers of accommodation, money and gifts for the family."
"We're getting lots of phone calls and messages of support and even food being delivered to the inquiry team which is great. What we really need however is the phone call that identifies our offender."
The investigation team is currently in excess of 30 staff. Most of those are from out of town and some have volunteered to come back from leave and give up their family Christmases to be part of the investigation.
"This is a terrible, despicable crime, one that strikes at the heart of us all. The people of this town are shocked and obviously want this solved. We are going to need help from our community to catch the person responsible," said Supt Dunbier.
Bay of Plenty Police are using social media to appeal for public information and want to thank everyone for forwarding on those messages through the Twitter community helping Police to reach tens of thousands of people.
You can follow Bay of Plenty Police on Twitter @BOPPolice.
Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Taupo Police Station on 07 378 6060. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.