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Havelock North car fire death – police investigation underway

Havelock North news

Police are investigating the unexplained death of a person, after a body was located in a vehicle in the River Road carpark in Havelock North yesterday.

It appears the vehicle, which has been consumed by fire, has been parked in the reserve for several days.

River Road is currently closed while Police work in the area and a scene guard will be in place overnight.

A scene examination has begun and a post mortem is expected to be carried out tomorrow.

‘While we are treating the death as unexplained, we are in the very early stages of understanding what has happened to our victim,’ said Detective Inspector David de Lange.

The reserve is a popular area for cyclists and people walking dogs, providing access to the Tukituki River and adjacent cycleways.

Anyone with information which could assist our investigation is asked to contact Police on 105 and quote event number P051805886.


Police investigating a body discovered in a burnt out vehicle at Havelock North’s River Road Recreational Reserve say it is too early to speculate about the identity of the person, or the cause of death.

Investigations are now well under way with Police completing their scene examination at the site today. River Road has been reopened to traffic. Police are reviewing CCTV footage to assist with their enquiry. The results of the post-mortem will not be known for two days.

Eastern Police District Commander Jeanette Park today confirmed that staff initially attended the scene after a call from a member of the public about 10am on Saturday 3 September. They reported an abandoned vehicle, severely damaged by fire, with what the caller believed to be a dead animal on the rear floor of the vehicle.

The condition of the vehicle and debris from the fire meant staff did not immediately identify the human remains.

Superintendent Park says as part of the investigation Police will be reviewing the initial response.

“Our priority at the moment, is to identify this person, and to let their family know. This will obviously be devastating news for them and that is our focus,” she says.

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