Missing man found dead, homicide investigation launched

3:22 pm on 7 December 2023
Harley Shrimpton

Harley Shrimpton Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Police have launched a homicide investigation after the body of a missing 28-year-old was found in Bay of Plenty this week.

Harley Shrimpton was last seen getting into a car - which police said was unlawfully taken the day prior - in the McDonald's car park in Mount Maunganui on 3 November.

He was reported missing to police on 17 November.

The car has since been recovered, and police last week said they believed he had fallen victim to foul play.

After a number of searches in Western Bay of Plenty over the past two weeks, police found Shrimpton at a Poripori Road address on 5 December.

On Wednesday, a 21-year-old male appeared in Tauranga District Court, charged with the kidnapping of Shrimpton. He is due to reappear later this month.

Detective Inspector Lindsay Pilbrow appealed for people with knowledge of what happened to come forward.

"Clearly, this is devastating news for the family of Shrimpton, who had continued to hold out hope for his safe return since his disappearance.

"Police are working closely with the family as they navigate through this very difficult time.

"Harley was well known in the Tauranga community and police are keen to hear from any of his friends, associates or extended family, who may have information surrounding his disappearance."

Police said they also wanted to hear from anyone who may have seen a vehicle of interest - a blue Toyota Prius on 3 November either in the Tauriko, Omanawa or Poripori Road areas from early afternoon onwards.

Anyone with information can call police on 105, or by going online and using 'Update Report', referencing file number 231117/9085.

Alternatively, information can be passed to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.