A homicide inquiry has been launched for a Central Otago man
missing for almost a year.
Simon James Garrick walked into the Caversham Four Square
Supermarket in Dunedin and bought a pie, razors and a
newspaper on October 30, 2012, at 2pm.
That was the last confirmed sighting of the 42-year-old.
''We do believe he has met an untimely death,'' Detective
Sergeant Derek Shaw told media in Dunedin yesterday morning.
He is now the subject of a homicide inquiry and police have
issued a plea to ''the wider community and the Otago criminal
fraternity for information about Simon''.
A warrant for his arrest was issued on October 24 last year
after he failed to appear in the Alexandra District Court on
charges of driving and dishonesty offences, and went ''on the
The investigation escalated after he was reported missing by
his Central Otago-based family in May this year.
''Simon has essentially morphed from being a wanted person to
the victim of foul play.''
Seven detectives had been working on the investigation during
the past 100 days.
Mr Garrick had not accessed his mobile phone, passport or
bank accounts after October 30, nor used his two vehicles,
one of which was impounded by police while the other was
damaged and stored at a friend's property, police said.
He usually kept in close contact with his family, but did not
attend his father's funeral in December.
Mr Garrick worked as a digger driver in Central Otago during
the week and had a ''very good work ethic'' and was able to
keep his drug habit under control, police said.
But on weekends he was a regular visitor to Dunedin where he
would binge on drugs, including methamphetamine and Ritalin,
and ''it is within that circle that he has gone missing''.
His drug use meant he was involved with the ''underworld of
Otago criminals''. Police believed he burgled rural
properties to fund his drug habit.
Det Sgt Shaw acknowledged Mr Garrick was at a low ebb and
might have died from a drug overdose or natural causes.
''But we would like to think we have excluded natural causes,
suicides and car accidents.''
If anyone had exercised poor judgement and decided to conceal
Mr Garrick following a drug overdose he urged them to come
''We want to get Simon back to his family.''
Mr Garrick's family were ''fine upstanding people and Simon
is probably the black sheep of the family; and those are
their own words'', Det Sgt Shaw said.
Both his brothers declined to talk when contacted by the
Otago Daily Times yesterday.
Mr Garrick had no known links to gangs, and was described by
associates as ''non-confrontational''.
The discovery of a cut-down .22 rifle at his Kingston
property the day after his arrest concerned police because
''that was out of character for Simon'', Det Sgt Shaw said.
Mr Garrick always paid his bills and there were no known
threats towards him.
More than 100 police inquiries in Otago, Southland,
Canterbury, Auckland and across the Tasman had drawn blanks -
''and that concerns us hugely''.
Det Sgt Shaw was sure someone in Otago or Southland knew what
had happened to Mr Garrick and ''while it is a homicide
investigation it does not mean it is a murder
''We think that Simon has died. It could be perfectly
explainable. There is a possibility he may have overdosed, or
a possibility he was deliberately killed.
''So could someone please contact us and let us know what has
or what hasn't happened to Simon.''
Mr Garrick was a Caucasian, of thin build and 185cm tall.
He was last seen wearing a white rugby jersey with a
distinctive blue and yellow stripes (see photo, above left).
Anyone with information about his whereabouts was urged to
contact Detective Rob Hanna, of Dunedin Police, on 471-4800,
or Det Sgt Shaw on 448-2500, or provide information
anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800-555-111.