Body lay in caravan 'for months'
Police expect to be able to confirm this afternoon whether a body found in a Cromwell caravan is that of missing man Simon James Garrick.
Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said the body was thought to be a male but appeared to have been in the caravan for "a considerable period of time" and was in an advanced state of decomposition.
He had notified Garrick's family that an unidentified body had been found.
Garrick is from Dunedin but had been working in Central Otago. He has been missing for a year. Police recently offered a $20,000 reward for information about his disappearance.
The body was discovered yesterday morning by the caravan owner returning to it after a year's absence to prepare if for summer.
When she discovered the scene she closed the door and contacted police.
Shaw said that although the scene was confined it was quite complex with bedding and other items covering part of the body.
An examination was underway today with the help of ESR scientists and Christchurch forensic pathologist Martin Sage. Shaw said he hoped to advance the investigation substantially today.
The last confirmed sighting of Garrick was in Dunedin's Caversham Four Square store on South Rd on October 30, last year.
A week earlier he had failed to appear in the Alexandra District Court on driving and dishonesty offences, resulting in Alexandra police issuing a warrant for his arrest.
Several factors contributed to the belief Garrick's disappearance was not a case of evasion.
He had uncharacteristically been absent from work and not been in touch with family and associates, even on the death of his father, with whom he was close.
There had been no activity on his mobile phone or bank accounts after October 30 last year and he had not used his two vehicles.
Garrick had always been a stable worker, but had ties to Otago's criminal underground because he was a burglar and heavy drug user, police said.
Shaw issued a plea to help locate Garrick in September.
"We have yet to hear from those close to him in the group we described, particularly those from the Dunedin criminal community, " Shaw said.
"We'd still like to hear from someone Simon mixed or associated with immediately before or after his disappearance on October 30."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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