Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Zealand: Update--Coroner's Inquest Urges Travelers to Not Hitchhike Alone

Richard McElrea, A New Zealand coroner, conducting an inquest into the murder of Dagmar 'Dasha' Pytlickova, 31, a Czech tourist, who was raped and killed on May 26, 2012, by New Zealander Jason Frandi, 43, urged backpackers and tourists not to hitchhike alone.

Frandi picked up Ms. Pytlickova in his silver BMW and drove her to a remote forest area outside Waimate in South Canterbury where he sexually assaulted and killed her. Frandi then strangely took his own life after he killed the young woman.

The bodies of the two were later found by motorcyclists on a fundraising trail ride for the Waimate Main School in a 5,000-acre forestry block off Pentland Hills Road.

COMMENT: It is noteworthy to point out that according to Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin, there is no official police policy re: hitchhiking. That being said, police generally warn citizens and tourists alike against hitchhiking.

At the time that Pytlickova and Frandi died, police were investigating Frandi over a dated child-sex-abuse allegation against him. In 2000, he was jailed for abducting a 19-year-old woman for sex, and said at the time he had a plan to take a woman into the back country and kill her.

Although New Zealand police recommend against hitchhiking alone, experience has shown that even two hitchhikers are potentially at risk, not knowing who might offer them a ride.