Toddler murder accused denies charge

The accused appeared in the High Court at Rotorua this morning.

The man charged with the murder of two-year-old Arnica Savage found in the Bay of Plenty on Sunday, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The child was found dead in the Rangitaiki River after an extensive search effort with the death quickly labelled a homicide by police. 

Details of how or why she ended up in the river are not yet known.  

The accused, who has name suppression,  appeared in the High Court at Rotorua on July 4 to enter his plea. 

Justice Lang said at the request of the family the accused's name and relationship to the victim will remain suppressed until her funeral on July 11. 

Arnica's death left the close-knit village of Te Mahoe in shock.

Caroline Abraham from the local Te Mahoe school said the school community was supporting the family in the tight-knit village. 

"We're sad to announce that a tragedy has happened to one of the families of our school. 

"At this time we are supporting whanau and the community. Our hearts are strongly with the whanau and this is a time for joining with them, supporting them and helping them through what has happened.

"It's not a nice situation and they are dealing with it as best they can."

The accused will appear for a case review hearing on September 5.

 - Stuff/Matt Shand


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