Sudden death on New Plymouth street

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 13:40 12/12/2012
INVESTIGATION: Police at the scene where a young man was found dead in New Plymouth.
ROBERT CHARLES/Fairfax NZ

SUDDEN DEATH: New Plymouth Police are investigating the sudden death of a young man found collapsed on this driveway on Devon St West in New Plymouth.

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Police are asking for people who saw a teenager prior to his death to come forward.

The 16-year-old was found dead in a New Plymouth driveway by a member of the public about 8pm last night.

A post-mortem will be carried out today on the boy, who’s name has not been released yet as police were still trying to locate his mother.

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward said the cause of the boy’s death remained a mystery at this stage.

‘‘We are not saying at this stage whether it is suspicious, what we are saying is that it’s unexplained,’’ Coward said.

‘‘There is no sign of any physical injuries or trauma that he has experienced so that’s why we are calling it unexplained.’’

The teenager is described as a male Maori, believed to be about 1.9m tall, reasonably slim, dark hair with some facial stubble. 

The teenager was wearing a pair of blue pants, with a dark blue and black checked collared shirt, a purple and black LA Lakers baseball cap and a white pair of Adidas shoes.

Police have examined the driveway on Devon St West where the body was found and were still conducting inquiries in that neighbourhood.

Coward said the boy, who was from the Waikato area, had been living with family in Hawera for the last three weeks.

‘‘About midday on Monday he told his family he was going to hitch-hike to New Plymouth; we are not sure of the reason,’’ he said.

The boy got a ride, but then told the driver he had no money and asked to be taken home so he could get some.

Coward said the boy’s family had described the vehicle as a ‘‘white van with multi-coloured spirals and a hippie type design’’ on it.

‘‘We are keen to identify this chap, he’s apparently French and he has potentially taken him through to New Plymouth.’’

Coward said there had been sightings of the teenager around New Plymouth’s CBD area yesterday, but police wanted to hear from anyone who had any further information.

‘‘We want to know how he got there and who he was with and any activity regarding him leading up to his death,’’ he said.

‘‘We need sightings of this boy at any stage yesterday, but in particular on Devon St West, where he met his death.’’

Anyone with information is urged to call 06 759 9456.

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