Trevor Street

PHOTO: 16 Trevor St, which had been on the market less than two weeks, when Yanfei Bao went missing after arranging to meet a client there. ONEROOOF

Disappearance of Yanfei Bao: A Tragic Puzzle Unfolds

A Life Unraveled

Yanfei Bao, a devoted mother, wife, and hard-working real estate agent in Christchurch, has gone missing, sending shockwaves through the local community and the country. The circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain mysterious, and authorities are actively investigating the case. Let’s take a closer look at what is known so far.

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The Last Known Location

The last place Yanfei Bao was seen was at 16 Trevor St in Hornby. On a chilly mid-winter morning, she arrived to show a prospective buyer the vacant property. The house, emptied for sale, stood quietly among neighboring homes, still bearing the marks of its previous occupants who had moved to Australia. As the day progressed, and the shadows grew longer, Bao’s presence at the property became her final known location.

A Life’s Journey

Bao’s journey to becoming a real estate agent was an impressive one. A university lecturer in China, she later pursued a master’s degree in English linguistics and a postgraduate diploma in business from Canterbury University. Her love for learning, reading, and travel defined her character, and she joined Harcourts in Christchurch after working in retail sales for a computing and IT company.

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An Alarm Raised

The alarm bells rang when Yanfei Bao didn’t arrive to collect her 9-year-old daughter from after-school care on that fateful Wednesday afternoon. Concerned, her husband, Paul Gooch, sought help on social media, appealing for any information about her whereabouts.

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The Investigation Begins

The police immediately initiated an investigation, focusing on her last known activities. Bao had made a call to a friend around 11.16 am, seeking advice on transferring money from China to New Zealand for a property purchase. However, the specifics of what happened afterward remained shrouded in uncertainty.

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The Mysterious Disappearance

By Thursday, with no signs of Bao, the police found her cellphone near Blakes Rd in Prebbleton, away from the initial location at 16 Trevor St. The data from the phone’s GPS provided valuable insights into its movements.

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The Silver Mitsubishi and the Arrest

The investigation took a significant turn when the police found and seized a silver Mitsubishi sedan at Christchurch Airport, matching the description of a vehicle the suspect was believed to be driving. Subsequently, a 52-year-old man was arrested at the airport, charged with kidnapping Bao, and taken into custody.

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Extensive Search Efforts

In their search for answers, the police combed various locations throughout the city, guided by potential sightings, phone data, and tips from the public. Areas like Lake Terrace Rd, Palmers Rd, New Brighton, Greenpark, and Lake Ellesmere were closely scrutinized. As the days passed, concern for Bao’s safety grew into grave apprehension.

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Ongoing Investigation

As Operation Helo, led by Detective Inspector Nicola Reeves, continues, the public remains vigilant and hopeful for Yanfei Bao’s safe return. With each passing day, the urgency to unravel this mysterious puzzle intensifies, and the community rallies to support her family during this difficult time.


Wednesday, July 19:

  • Late morning: Yanfei Bao is last seen at 16 Trevor St in Hornby, Christchurch, showing a prospective buyer through the property.
  • Around 11.16 am: Bao calls a friend on the social media app WeChat, seeking advice on transferring money from China to New Zealand for a property purchase.
  • After 12.30 pm: Bao’s car, a silver Nissan compact, disappears from the street.

Thursday, July 20:

  • Concerns are raised when Bao doesn’t arrive to collect her 9-year-old daughter from after-school care. Police are alerted.

Friday, July 21:

  • Bao’s Nissan Dualis is found about 2 km away from 16 Trevor St, in Iroquois Pl, Wigram.
  • Bao’s husband, Paul Gooch, posts an urgent appeal on Facebook seeking information about her whereabouts.

Saturday, July 22:

  • Police locate Bao’s cellphone in bushes near Christchurch’s Southern Motorway, near Blakes Rd in Prebbleton, 5 km from the Trevor St property.

Sunday, July 23:

  • Police stop a vehicle in the Air Force Museum’s car park in Wigram, almost directly opposite Iroquois Pl, where Bao’s car was found on Wednesday night.
  • A 52-year-old man is arrested and charged with kidnapping Bao. He is remanded in custody.


  • Police conduct an extensive search operation, combing various locations in Christchurch’s outskirts, guided by potential sightings, phone data, and tips from the public.
  • Forensic specialists and investigators examine 16 Trevor St, the property Bao was last seen at, and gather evidence.
  • The investigation remains ongoing, and the public continues to support Bao’s family and await updates on her whereabouts.

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