Fishermans body found in Whangamarino River, police investigating suspicious death

Police are investigating a suspicious death after the body of an Auckland fisherman was discovered in Meremere on Tuesday afternoon.

Detective Inspector Daryl Smith said police were notified about a body in the Whangamarino River at 4.40pm. The body was retrieved by police seven hours later.

Police are carrying out a scene investigation at the river and the Island Block boat ramp remains cordoned off.

A Meremere resident returned home just after 5pm to find about five police cars and police divers searching in and around the Whangamarino River.

A rescue boat from the Huntly fire brigade was also helping.

“The whole place was like CBD Queen St,” the neighbour said.

“They had search lights and everything, the whole place was lit up.”

The neighbour said the fisherman, understood to be in his early 40s, was a regular in the area and would often turn up in the morning and fish all day, sometimes staying until sunset.

The man would often give the neighbour a friendly wave from his fishing spot near the Island Block Rd boat ramp where he also parked his car.

“It is a bit suspicious. They are looking for evidence. They haven’t left since Tuesday.”
The neighbour had been visited by police officers and asked about the likelihood of barbed wire being in the river to which the neighbour told them there wasn’t any to his knowledge.

He said it appeared police were now looking for some kind of weapon.

Irfan Qureshi, who is a spokesman for Airport Masjid and a friend of the refugee fisherman, said police had told them they believed his death was suspicious because the chest wounds could not have happened while he was fishing.

Qureshi said the father of four’s wife and religious leaders travelled from Mangere to the fishing spot on Tuesday after he failed to turn up to a meeting in Favona.

They were greeted by police.

Another Meremere resident was returning from doing her supermarket shopping when she spotted two police cars on the Whangamarino Bridge near the Meremere turn-off on Tuesday about 10.30pm.

Smith wanted to reassure the community that they were working hard to piece together the facts surrounding the man’s death.

Police want to speak with anyone who was in the area of Island Block Rd, Island Block Rd bridge and the Whangamarino River on February 15 between noon and 5pm.

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