Homicide inquiry launched after man’s body identified

Police have launched a homicide inquiry into the death of an Otautau man.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Harvey said yesterday police had identified a body found in the Longwood forestry block as that of Dale Tama Watene (40). A postmortem had been carried out, he said.

"The investigation team has conducted extensive inquiries over the past few weeks in the search for Mr Watene," Det Snr Sgt Harvey said.

Family and friends of Mr Watene declined to comment yesterday.

Mr Watene went missing from Otautau on April 16.

Police searched various areas in Otautau and Tuatapere for weeks, and also completed an extensive search in the Longwood forestry area last weekend.

Mr Watene’s friend Adam McColl told the Otago Daily Times family and friends of the missing man had been preparing themselves for the worst, but the news yesterday a body had been found was "heartbreaking".

"Honestly, Dale was a really good person. He was loyal, a hard worker and a good father. He was the kind of guy who you could trust," Mr McColl said.

"He had his bad points — as everyone does — but he was a good guy in general."

Det Snr Sgt Harvey said police were continuing to support Mr Watene’s family.

Invercargill police (03)211-0400 or Crimestoppers 0800555-111.

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