No 'familial connection' between suspect, victim

Last updated 16:11 19/04/2013
George Charles Taiaroa
SHOT DEAD: George Charles Taiaroa, 67, was working at the traffic control point near Tokoroa when he was shot dead.

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Police have a main suspect in the murder of road contractor George Taiaroa, and say they are close to discovering the motive towards his killing.

Taiaroa was fatally shot as he operated a stop-go sign on Tram Road, Atiamuri on March 19.

While there had been no arrests in relation to Taiaroa's death, "we do have a main suspect in relation to this investigation and we are also working on the possibility that he is being protected or actively assisted by others," Detective Inspector Tim Anderson said.

"For investigative reasons I will not be making any comment on individuals of interest to this investigation."

But at a press conference in Hamilton, he did confirm there was no "familial connection" between the suspect and Taiaroa.

Anderson said they had also found the vehicle believed to be involved but would not give specific details.

"What I am able to say is that we have recently seized a vehicle that we believe was involved on the day of the murder and we also believe we are closer to the motive behind the cold-blooded murder."

The vehicle they had discovered was a late 90s dark blue Jeep Cherokee, but police would not say when, or exactly where it was found.

Police did confirm the vehicle was found in the Bay of Plenty District, but would not describe the circumstances in which it was located, or the nature of forensic tests that have been carried out on the vehicle.

Tests were still being carried out.

Police were still appealing for information about the car's movements on the day of the murder and the days that followed.

A man in his 70s was arrested after a search of a property north of Rotorua in the Mamaku Ranges, however police spokeswoman Kim Perks said that was unrelated to the murder investigation.

That arrest resulted from one of a number of warrants that had been carried out since the shooting. The man was charged with a firearms offence.

"I will not be drawn on the specifics of those warrants and whether or not any of those remain pertinent to the ongoing inquiry," Anderson said.  

Anyone with with information should call the investigation team directly on 0800 Kingswood (0800 546 479), or the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.

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