Friends on phone to police when Christchurch murder victim's body found

Concerned friends of a 37-year-old Colombian woman were on the phone to police when they found her dead inside her Christchurch home.

Colombian woman Juliana Cayena Bonilla-Herrera was allegedly murdered inside her flat on Grove Rd, Addington, on Saturday night.

It is understood Bonilla-Herrera's death was extremely violent, with her allegedly having been restrained and suffering knife wounds.

Friends had been worried that they had not heard from her and visited her flat on Saturday night.

After finding lights on and her car parked in the driveway, they phoned police.

Juliana Herrera was allegedly murdered in her Christchurch home. Photo: Supplied
Juliana Herrera was allegedly murdered in her Christchurch home. Photo: Supplied
They were advised they could enter the property if they felt it was safe to do so.

While still on the line to police, they discovered Bonilla-Herrera's body.

Detective Inspector Scott Anderson, the officer in charge of homicide investigation Operation Grove, said that ideally it would been police officers who entered the property.

However, he told the Herald he was comfortable with how the circumstances played out that night.

A 35-year-old man has been charged with Bonilla-Herrera's murder and appeared at Christchurch District Court on Wednesday.

He has been granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody without plea to the High Court on February 18.

Police spent days examining the Grove Rd scene. Photo: George Heard
Police spent days examining the Grove Rd scene. Photo: George Heard
A 3D designer who moved to New Zealand from Colombia more than a decade ago, Bonilla-Herrera worried friends when she failed to show up for a planned hiking trip on the weekend.

A relative said a lot of people admired Bonilla-Herrera for her "value" and because she decided to make her life in New Zealand.

She moved here about 10 years ago to study and fell in love with the country.

"Although you were far from your loved ones you always had a positive and strong attitude facing challenges," her relative wrote on a social media tribute.

"You were not only a great professional but a tireless warrior.

"You taught us that there are no impossible goals. You lived to the fullest enjoying this world with a lot of attitude full of affection towards others and always being a great daughter, sister and friend.

"I join the pain of your mother, your brothers and other relatives. We will always remember you."

- By Kurt Bayer




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