Two days after New Year’s celebrations in 1970, a couple travelling past the Haast River in New Zealand decided to stop at the Haast River bridge to allow their young daughter to use the bathroom. When the 8-year old returned to the car, she told her parents she saw a naked lady. Dismissing it as an active imagination, they told their daughter to get back in the car and they continued their journey.
On the 19th of January, police discovered the “naked lady” under the bridge. She was dead; having been raped and strangled. It was believed that 25-year old Jennifer Beard, as she was later identified, had been ambushed while using the nearby bathroom. She had been reported missing by her fiancé several days earlier. During the police investigation, witnesses claimed to have seen the young woman in a blue-green Vauxhall driven by a middle-aged man. A truck driver fitting the description and driving the same model car was questioned but never charged. A pair of trousers were found a few metres away from the crime scene and was sent away for analysis. Unfortunately, authorities forgot about the pants for several months. When they were examined afterwards, a receipt bearing the name of the truck driver was discovered in one of the pockets. Still, the Crown refused to lay charges, citing insufficient evidence.
The truck driver never strayed from pleading innocent regarding the murder, right up until his death in 2003. In 2008, police were investigating new leads, but nothing came of that either. To date, the murder of Jennifer Beard remains officially unsolved.