An "innocent" young man whose body was found set alight near Auckland had been planning to play pool the night of his death, police say.
The body of Shalvin Prasad, 21, was found still ablaze on the side of McRobbie Rd in Kingseat on Thursday morning.
Police, who believe he was most likely burned alive, yesterday, launched a homicide investigation into his death.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch of Counties Manukau police said investigators were yet to work out if Prasad had reached his destination after he left his Dannemora home in his still-missing blue Rav4 - registration ZG1674.
The car is now central to the inquiry, with police asking for any sightings which may lead them to its whereabouts.
Lynch said Prasad's disappearance was out of character and there were no reasons why Prasad would go missing or take his own life.
"Based upon what we now know about Shalvin coupled with the fact his vehicle and some personal possessions are still missing it is believed that another person or persons are involved in his disappearance and death", he said.
Prasad's family were informed of his death and are being aided by victim support.
His brother, Pravin Prasad said Shalvin was the youngest and was "full of life".
"Family and friends are the centre of his world," he said.
"He loves to play soccer and enjoyed his job. He is probably the most innocent 21-year-old you could meet."
Prasad asked that anyone who had seen Shalvin or spoken with him in the 48 hours before he went missing to contact police.
Police are also interested in two other cars, both seen speeding from McRobbie Rd just before 6.30am on Thursday.
Both vehicles carried on straight through the intersection into Kingseat Road travelling in the Pukekohe direction. One vehicle was described as blue/silver in colour while the other was white.
"Police are urging the drivers of these vehicles to come forward to be eliminated from the investigation.
"This is a remote location and both drivers will be well aware that their vehicles will be of interest to the investigation."
He warned that "the longer they wait to come forward will increase the level of interest police have in them and we urge them to contact us as soon as possible".
Police are yet to establish what kind of accelerant was used to light the fire.
- © Fairfax NZ News