After being missing for nearly three weeks, Police have confirmed they have recovered the body of Lance John Murphy.
The 56-year-old Waiuku man was last seen on Saturday, November 21, at around 6:36pm at the BP Service Station in Warkworth. His body was found in a rural property in Wellsford over the weekend.
The Waiuku resident had lived within the community for a number of years and has adult children.
Detective Inspector, Uraia Vakaruru, said the Police were notified of Murphy’s disappearance by his sister on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 21, and began their investigation that evening.
Lance Murphy’s vehicle, a 2010 Mazda 6, was located by Police in Steven Gunbie’s property on Goatley Road in Warkworth, on Thursday, November 26.
“This is a devastating outcome for the family of Mr Murphy, who are being supported by Victim Support and their Family Liaison officer. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time,” said Police Spokesperson, Shelley Nahr.
Police have arrested and charged a 51 year-old man with murder, and he appeared in the Manukau District Court last Monday morning.
Detective Inspector, Uraia Vakaruru, would like to thank the media and members of the public who came forward with information and assisted Police with their enquiries.
The focus of Operation COSMOS is now focused on locating Steve Gunbie, as he has become a person of interest to the case.
The 37-year-old has a warrant to arrest for failing to appear in Court on a charge of driving whilst disqualified.
He is believed to have access to firearms and it has been advised by the Police that he should not be approached.
Last Thursday evening, Police carried out a search warrant in relation to Murphy’s disappearance at an address north of Auckland.
It was not in relation to the apprehension of Steve Gunbie, however, the Armed Offenders Squad assisted with the search warrant as a precautionary measure.
Any information as to the whereabouts of Mr Gunbie can be directed to the Operation COSMOS investigation team at 0508 422 443 or you can call Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.