Search upgraded to homicide probe

A search for a missing 27-year-old Taranaki man is now being treated as a homicide investigation.

Opunake man Aaron Roigard has been missing since Monday June 2, when he was last seen at about 1pm.

Mr Roigard had left a Waiteika Road address on foot, following a disagreement with a family member, taking a cell phone with him but not his wallet or car keys.

Detective Sergeant Chris Allemann said homicide was being treated as a possibility because police did not have any firm leads on what had happened to Mr Roigard.

"It's not to say that it is a homicide but we are treating it seriously.

"It's still a missing person but there's some unusual aspects to it that aren't sitting right with us."

Mr Allemann would not expand on what those aspects were.

"The only thing I can say is that we still don't have any idea, we're open to any possibility.

"One of those is that foul play is an option."

Effluent ponds were drained over two days at the address Mr Roigard disappeared from as part of a full forensic search, although nothing was found.

"We had to cover that off because we just don't know where to turn to next."

Police had stopped searching the area where Mr Roigard had gone missing, but were talking to his family and members of the public.

There had been a number of unconfirmed sightings between Opunake and New Plymouth, but it "could be anybody", Mr Allemann said.

Mr Roigard is 176cm tall, of medium build, and has brown hair.

When he disappeared he was wearing black clothing, including a beanie, a hooded jacket, trousers and boots at the time of his disappearance.

An older style dark green/blue Holden Commodore Saloon was seen where Mr Roigard went missing, and police would like to speak to anyone who may have seen the vehicle in the Opunake area on Monday June 2.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Chris Allemann on (06) 213 9536. People can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- Lydia Anderson APNZ

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