11 Oct 2015

Hundreds at vigil for Alex Fisher

10:42 pm on 11 October 2015

Hundreds of people have turned out to a candlelit vigil in the small town of Waitarere, near Levin, for a vigil in memory of Alex Fisher.

Alex Fisher

Alex Fisher Photo: Supplied

Alex's body was found on Thursday in the dunes of Waitarere Beach after a three day search which involved more than 100 police officers and search and rescue workers.

A post mortem has revealed he suffered head trauma and a homicide inquiry is underway.

The vigil started at 7pm at the Waitarere Domain and observed a minutes silent. Many of those involved in the lengthy search for him took to a small stage to thank the community for all their support. People lit candles in bags with messages in memory of Alex Fisher.

Brenda Lineham who spoke on behalf of the family said "a limb has fallen from the family tree."

She extended the family's thanks to the community for its support.

Local MP Nathan Guy said everyone had come here to acknowledge Alex and his family. He said Alex's death had been traumatic for the community.

"Feeling pain and sorrow is about being human," he said.

Brenda Lineham at the podium

Brenda Lineham at the podium Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

Nathan Guy at Alex Fisher vigil

Nathan Guy Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

Detective Inspector Sarah Stewart who is leading the investigation said communities were like family, and this community would continue to stand together.

She said the week had been tragic and shocking. Continue with your day to day life, she said. This is a beautiful part of the world.

She offered her sincere thanks to the community and the people who volunteered in the search.

Inspector Stewart said people had brought the search teams and investigators meals, providing support throughout a heart-wrenching week.

She reiterated that there was no wider risk to the community.

At the end of the vigil people lit candles in paper bags which were adorned with mesages of support in memory of Alex Fisher.

At the end of the vigil people lit candles in paper bags which were adorned with mesages of support in memory of Alex Fisher. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

Horowhenua district Mayor Brendan Duffy told the crowd that today was a day when the community needed to come together.

He said Alex Fisher's death had shaken the community's foundations.

"This time last week we were innocent Waitarere, now, now we are holding hands in support of a family in the community who have suffered an enormous tragedy."

Mayor of the Horowhenua District Brendan Duffy

Mayor of the Horowhenua District Brendan Duffy Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

A crowd funding webpage set up to support Alex Fisher's family has raised more than $8000.

The Givealittle page set up on Thursday to help Alex's family has already had over 250 donations.

"Let's help Alex Fisher's family during this absolutely tragic time. Nothing can bring their boy back but we can try to ease their load. Please donate anything you're able to spare. All Funds will go to his immediate family to help them with any on-going financial costs that come with dealing with the loss of their child," the page bio said.

In their first public statement following his death his family thanked the community who had donated food, money, time and prayers and said it had shown how terrific the local community was.

Police continue investigation

Police investigating the death of Alex Fisher say they are pursuing several leads in their investigation, including a burglary which may be connected to his death.

Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Forlong

Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Forlong at today's press conference. Photo: Radio NZ / Michael Cropp

In a news conference held this afternoon, Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Forlong said the inquiry was making good progress, with a large team of officers working throughout the weekend.

He said they were forensically testing items discovered as part of the investigation, and were paying close attention to a burglary in the Waitarere beach area.

He would not give any more details about that burglary, but said it might be connected to the case.

Police at the scene where Alex Fisher was found.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Forlong said nobody had been charged with the Levin Boy's death.

He acknowledged there had been speculation over whether the police had recovered a weapon.

"All I will say about that is that we are going through a detailed forensic examination of all the items we have recovered - both at the scene and elsewhere.

"This will establish what, if any relevance they have to the investigation. We will not be going into any detail of what those items are."

Mr Furlong also addressed speculation about the involvement of particular individuals.

"We will not be discussing any specific individuals, however I can say that we are keeping an open mind about the involvement of any person in our investigation."

The police want any sightings of Alex, or his brother Eric, on Sunday or Monday either together or individually to be reported.

The post-mortem revealed he suffered head trauma.

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