Boy's sudden death a mystery

Last updated 17:31 08/12/2012

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The tiny town of Raetihi is in shock following the unexplained death of a ''fantastic, happy'' nine-year-old local boy.

Ohakune police are continuing their investigation into the boy's unexplained death, after an autopsy yesterday.

The child was discovered dead by a family member just before 6am on Friday morning.

His body was examined on Friday night and police have called for anyone with information ''in relation to this incident'' to contact them.

"The post-mortem has been completed, however we are still carrying out further tests to determine the cause of death," Detective Senior Sergeant Keith Borrell said.

"Once all the test results are back we will have a clearer picture of how the boy died,'' he said.

"We are still making inquiries and have a number of people, including family members, to speak to."

A scene examination remained in progress.

Many local residents declined to comment on the death today.

Jayesh Patel, owner of the Raetihi Pricecutters Foursquare, confirmed the boy's death had affected all 800 residents of the township.

''Everyone knew the boy because it's a small town. We were shocked, we couldn't believe it would happen to him. Everyone's feeling shocked.

''He would come in every evening and every morning to my store from school. He was a very good student at Raetihi Primary School. He was fantastic, a well-behaved boy. He was a nice kid.''

He said ''each and every person'' in town had planned to visit the local marae last night to pay their respects.

Tributes on the Raetihi Primary School Facebook page named the boy as Anthony, a student in the school's Room 1.

A teacher aide at the school, known as Cda Taina said: ''It was a sad day but the kids made today better for us when they performed for their brother, cousin, friend, Antony who was taken from them.

''Sad to hear that a happy boy was taken from us in a blink of an eye.''

A police spokeswoman said police were treating the death "unexplained" and were keeping an open mind regarding the circumstances.

''There are a lot of stories behind it,'' Patel said. ''But it's very had to confirm at the moment. The local people haven't got any information from police.''

Police have encouraged anyone with information on the incident to contact the Ohakune Police Station on (06) 385 0100 or call anonymously the Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.  

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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