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Operation Tam base to shift to Christchurch
Operation Tam’s base is to shift from Blenheim to Christchurch, but this should not been taken as a sign of defeat.
The officer in charge of the double-homicide investigation, Detective Inspector Rob Pope was reported in the Dominion of 26 May as saying the team was not heading away with its tail between its legs. “It is a logical progression. Because we are operating from a different station does not in any way indicate a slowing down in this investigation or its direction,” he said.

The inquiry team went home for a rest on the weekend of 23-24 May after nearly five months on one of the South Island’s biggest and highest profile investigations. Mr Pope is reported to have seen his wife and infant daughter only twice since he was assigned to head the investigation.

Operation Tam had its beginnings on 2 January 1998 after young friends Olivia Hope (17) and Ben Smart (21) were reported missing. They disappeared in the early hours of New Year’s morning after leaving a water taxi and boarding a yacht moored in the Marlborough Sound’s Endeavour Inlet, along with a mystery stranger. Police later concluded they had been murdered and their bodies hidden.

In the following weeks more that 2300 people were interviewed and in excess of $3M went into trying to establish what happened to the pair and who was responsible for their disappearance. The navy also became involved using sophisticated underwater viewing equipment to search the Sounds seabed. About 50 people have yet to be seen, most those who have travelled overseas or are reluctant to talk to police.

Mr Pope said inquiries in Blenheim had been completed. He is to relocate to Christchurch by Friday 29 May and most of the team of 10 would return to normal duties. He said he, Detective Senior Sergeant John Rae and Detective Richard Rolton of Blenheim would remain full-time on the inquiry. Mr Pope told NZPA the move south was not a defeatist one, though no arrest had been made. He has often said he remains confident the investigation will have a successful outcome to.

For more information refer to any of the almost 30 topics isolated for you by CrimeCo. Sequentially, Family reaction? is recommended.

Next related article: Forward to Man arrested for the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope.Man arrested for the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope.
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Operation Tam’s base is to shift from Blenheim to Christchurch

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