The day Adam Rawiri Palmer was sent to prison was the day he was due to start an intensive two-month alcohol rehabilitation programme.
Three months later, on Tuesday, Mr Palmer was bailed and within hours he was dead.
His death is the subject of multiple police inquiries after he died in police handcuffs at the Dinsdale home of his former partner, Laura Marston.
A 23-year-old man who has name suppression, with whom Mr Palmer allegedly had an altercation before his death, has appeared in Hamilton District Court on a charge of assault.
Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger, of the central district CIB, confirmed the post-mortem examination was completed in Auckland yesterday, and that Mr Palmer's body was being returned to his family.
"We have received the preliminary findings of this examination into the cause of death. However, the coroner is not prepared to release these until further investigations have been made," Ms Schwalger said.
"Homicide inquiries such as this are complex and there are several people still to be interviewed in relation to events leading up to and including Mr Palmer's death, and it may be some time before more information is available."
Mr Palmer's parents, Gill and Norm, his siblings, James and Rebecca were yesterday struggling to come to terms with the sudden loss of such a "fabulous, sporty, open-hearted, loving" 26-year-old.
His parents were under no illusion that he was a perfect son - he had been in and out of trouble with the law since the age of 17 - but nor did they believe the system had failed him.
"He created his own path," Norm Palmer said. "By no means does our family consider him a victim of the system."
Adam Palmer was a talented rugby player and an avid BMX rider his whole life; he requested his training wheels be removed at age 2 and was BMXing at age 3.
His mother slept with the bike her son got for his last birthday, in her room last night. "Twenty-six years old and all he wanted was a BMX bike," she said.
"He was an enigma," Norm Palmer said. "When he was young he was always wanting to grow up; when he was older he wanted to be young again."
Mr Palmer said some of his son's best times were the six years he spent at Southwell School, where he was popular with students and teachers alike.
He went on to Hillcrest High School, making friends easily at every turn.
Between tears, the family struggled to find enough words to describe their son and brother.
They said he was a mischievous youngster with great mathematical talent and plenty of common sense.
He was a protective brother and a doting uncle, with a soft spot for his mum.
And he was generous with his time, tutoring maths and BMX riding, for the love of it.
"The potential for him to do something awesome with his life was huge," James Palmer said.
But alcohol, which seemed to impact on his brother in six-monthly cycles, was a problem he struggled to deal with.
The Palmers said help was available for Adam but he had to want to get better before anyone could help him.
Gill Palmer said he reached the point of wanting help for the sake of Miss Marston and her two children - Marley, who is battling leukaemia, and London - so he sought help.
She said Adam went to his doctor and asked to be referred for help.
But he decided to drink "one last time" the weekend before he was due to start at CareNZ.
"The day his course was due to start he was sent to Waikeria [Prison] instead," Ms Palmer said.
The family did not expect him to get bail on Tuesday but said they placed no blame on the judge, police, whom they said had been incredibly supportive and helpful, or anyone else.
However, they said, they did want answers eventually.
"Blaming people won't change anything.
"It won't bring Adam back."
Adam's casket will be at home with his mother until his funeral on Monday.
Friends are welcome to visit and help decorate it.
His funeral will be held at 1pm on Monday at Newstead Chapel.
Friends and family welcome.
- Waikato Times