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New Zealand|Crime

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A Givealittle page set up by Bonilla-Herrera’s close friends and co-workers has already raised over $25,000. Photo / Givealittle

A Givealittle fundraising page has been set up for the family of 37-year-old Colombian woman Juliana Cayena Bonilla-Herrera who was killed in her Christchurch apartment last Saturday.

A 35-year-old man has been charged with her murder.

The Givealittle page set up by Bonilla-Herrera’s close friends and co-workers had already raised over $25,000 as of 11am this morning after being set up on Thursday.

“Our dear friend and beloved colleague Juliana Cayena Bonilla Herrera was tragically taken from us last week. We are shocked and heart-broken that such a beautiful soul has been taken from our lives and feel even more for her family back in Colombia,” the Givealittle summary says.

“We would like to help Juliana’s family cover some of the costs associated with this sad time. Travel costs are expensive in these Covid times and we hope to make this difficult time more bearable for her family.

“Funds will be paid to a trusted third party on behalf of the next of kin. We are currently working through the process of who this will be and we will update you with further information when available.”

Juliana Herrera was allegedly murdered in her Christchurch home. Photo / Supplied
Juliana Herrera was allegedly murdered in her Christchurch home. Photo / Supplied

A 3D designer who moved to New Zealand from Colombia more than a decade ago, Bonilla-Herrera’s friends were worried when she failed to show up for a planned hiking trip on the weekend.

The friends had been concerned that they had not heard from Bonilla-Herrera, and visited her Grove Rd, Addington, flat on January 22.

After finding lights on and her car parked in the driveway, they phoned police.

They were advised they could enter the property if they felt it was safe to do so.

While still on the line to police, they discovered Bonilla-Herrera’s body.

Detective Inspector Scott Anderson, the officer in charge of homicide investigation Operation Grove, said that ideally it would have been police officers who entered the property.

However, he told the Herald he was comfortable with how the circumstances played out that night.

A 35-year-old man has been charged with Bonilla-Herrera’s murder and appeared in Christchurch District Court on Wednesday.

He has been granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody without plea to the High Court on February 18.

It is understood Bonilla-Herrera’s death was extremely violent, with her allegedly having been restrained and suffering knife wounds.

Police investigate the scene of a homicide in Addington after the body of Juliana Herrera was found in her home on January 22. Photo / Hamish Clark
Police investigate the scene of a homicide in Addington after the body of Juliana Herrera was found in her home on January 22. Photo / Hamish Clark

One donor on the Givealittle page paid tribute to Bonilla-Herrera’s vibrant personality.

“Your beautiful smile and personality always brightened up the day. Thank you for the time we got to spend with you! You will be so missed by so many. Sending our love to your family and friends.”

A relative said a lot of people admired Bonilla-Herrera for her “value” and because she decided to make her life in New Zealand.

She moved here about 10 years ago to study and fell in love with the country.

“Although you were far from your loved ones you always had a positive and strong attitude facing challenges,” her relative wrote in a social media tribute.

“You were not only a great professional but a tireless warrior.

“You taught us that there are no impossible goals. You lived to the fullest enjoying this world with a lot of attitude full of affection towards others and always being a great daughter, sister and friend.

“I join the pain of your mother, your brothers and other relatives. We will always remember you.”