Navy search river for murder clues

Last updated 12:56 20/06/2014
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MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Police search the Whanganui River.

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Whetu Teaola Hansen has been missing since November 24.

police search wanganui river

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Police say they and the navy could be scouring the Whanganui River for days in connection to the Whetu Hansen homicide case.

Manawatu police and members of the police's national dive squad, with assistance from the Navy, started searching the river today.

Hansen, from Whanganui, was last seen on November 24, driving his grey Ford ute towards Palmerston North.

The vehicle was recovered from a property in Akers Rd, Linton, on December 5.

His disappearance began as a missing person investigation and was upgraded to a homicide inquiry in December.

Neither Hansen nor his dog, Henry, had been found and police still wanted to speak to anyone with information.

Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Harrison would not say what they were looking for or why the had decided to search the river, but said they were looking at multiple areas about 30 minutes upriver from Whanganui.

While the search may end today, he said police had already planned to review the search on Sunday morning.

"It could end quickly, I'm not entirely sure."

Police have called for more assistance from the public in relation to Hansen's disappearance, appealing for sightings of a 1996 white Ford Courier ute seen in the Palmerston North or Whanganui area around December 4, last year.

Harrison said it was the third vehicle linked to the case, and police were still asking for sightings of the other two - a mint-green 1981 Mitsubishi wooden flat-deck ute and Hansen's 1980s primer-grey coloured Ford - on or about the day he went missing.

"I would encourage anyone that has any information about this vehicle or the death of Whetu Hansen to contact their local police station,'' Harrison said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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