Ronnie Tapsell-Walters' koro had been missing for five days when she spoke on the phone to a medium who said he thought he could help.
The Bay of Plenty woman didn't catch the name of the man who'd been contacted by a family member, and says she wasn't really into "all that stuff".
"A few psychics had contacted me during the week and had sent me on wild-goose chases, and I didn't really want to talk to anyone," says Ronnie, whose grandfather John Mohi (77) had disappeared after going for a walk in his hometown of Maketu.
"But I felt like I was running out of options and I was at the stage where I would take anything I could get."
Just one minute into the conversation, she became convinced the guy might be able to help when he gave her personal information about John that he couldn't possibly have known. And when he described a local area where he thought John was, Ronnie – who had realised by then that they were looking for a body – felt sure he was onto something.
"Everything he said made sense and I just knew my grandfather would be found. But I didn't know until I got off the phone that I had been talking to Kelvin Cruickshank from Sensing Murder."
A family member had contacted TV medium Kelvin after extensive searches failed to turn up any sign of John, a devoted family man who had dementia.
Using Kelvin's description of where he thought John was, along with a map the medium had marked up, Ronnie immediately went to the search and rescue team, asking them to check the area.
"After only 20 minutes, they found him," says Ronnie. "He was exactly where Kelvin said he would be."
Kelvin (47) says he was able to pinpoint the location of John's body thanks to John himself, who communicated with him from the spirit world.
He found John almost a year to the day that he helped a Hamilton family find the body of Raymond "Curly" Stirling (84).
Both men were found in steep, bush-clad gullies a short time after Kelvin supplied maps and other details of where to look.
"Curly and John told me where they were," says Kelvin. "I just passed the message on and fortunately people listened."
He says he hadn't been following the news and didn't know there was an extensive search for John. But two days after the elderly widower was last seen, Kelvin had a vision shortly after going to bed.
"I wasn't asleep, I was in a trance, what I call 'in the zone', and a Maori elder came and stood at the end of my bed. He showed me a location and landmarks and, among other things, I could also see a bandage on his left leg, meaning he had an existing problem with that leg."
It wasn't until a couple of days later, when he saw an email from a member of the Mohi whanau asking for help, that he made the connection.
He says he was told by John to speak to the female family member closest to the investigation, which turned out to be Ronnie (38).
To establish he had the right family, Kelvin asked if John had a problem with his left leg.
"He did – it was an old injury in his left hip," says Ronnie. "Kelvin also asked about my nan, who had died, and talked about a scar on her heart. She'd had a triple bypass."
Ronnie's sister-in-law Bex Mohi was listening to the conversation and taking notes, and she says they both instantly recognised Kelvin's description of the area of bush where he said John was.
"He said there was a clearing nearby with fallen trees, although it didn't show up on Google maps – and there was. The trees had been felled about a month ago."
A search party had been in the area several times, Bex says.
"Kelvin said, 'There's a point where they think they can't go any further but they have to keep going.' That's what happened – they kept going and this time they found him."
The next day, Kelvin drove to Maketu from his home in the Bay of Islands to meet John's family and "give them all a hug". John's spirit was there with him, he says, this time with his wife Waimeha.
"When I told everyone, 'He's with his beautiful wife, your nana,' the look on everyone's faces… There were a lot of tears. And there was so much love in the room – I have never been hugged like that before in my life."
Kelvin visited the spot where John was found to pay his respects.
"I was so glad I was able to find this lovely family's koro," he says. "I can only help people if their wairua, or spirit, comes to me – I can't force them. I think if I am meant to find more missing people, I will."
Ronnie says the family is very grateful to Kelvin and everyone else who gave their time to help.
"We might not have found him at all, which would have been really hard to live with. Thanks to Kelvin, we were able to begin the grieving process and the healing process. It gave us peace of mind. I really don't know how to thank him for what he has done."
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