Tuesday, 10 December 2013 - 10:53am |

Missing person inquiry upgraded to homicide investigation

2 min read


Manawatu Police have now upgraded the missing person case of Whetu Teaola Hansen to a homicide.

"Based on information that we have received in the past 12 hours we have upgraded this inquiry to a homicide investigation. While I am not prepared to divulge the nature of the information for investigative reasons, this is a significant turning point for our investigation and this information has further confirmed our serious concerns around Mr Hansen's disappearance," says Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Harrison.

"While we do not know why at this stage and who is responsible every effort is being made to obtain answers to these questions.

"We are continuing to make inquiries and one of our main focuses is on locating Mr Hansen so we can return him to his family."

Police have now also spoken with the other person that resided at the property. The man aged 56, has been arrested and charged with the unlawful possession of explosives. He will appear in the Palmerston North District Court today.

"As a result of the search at the property the explosives were located and while there were no immediate risks to Police staff or the public the man did not have the appropriate licence to possess them."

To date no-one has been arrested in relation to Mr Hansen’s death but Police are keeping an open mind as to who is responsible.

"To protect the integrity of our inquiries I will not be making any comment on individuals of interest to this investigation."

Police are making good progress with the scene examination at the Linton property and today a team of 10 officers supported by ESR staff will continue the examination.

"Officers working on the investigation have been encouraged by the support from the public, and we are still keen to hear from anyone that may have any information about sightings of the vehicle or any other information that could assist us with our investigation," says Detective Senior Sergeant Harrison.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Dave Wilson (06) 213 9595. Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Note: Detective Senior Sergeant Harrison is only available to interview between 11am-12noon today.

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Sara Stavropoulos on 027 702 0850.