A 22-year-old has been charged with murdering Tauranga man Harley Shrimpton after initially facing kidnapping charges last year, police say.
Shrimpton disappeared in November last year, with his body located by authorities a month later at a Western Bay of Plenty address. A man, 22, who had been facing a kidnapping charge has now also been charged with murder in the case.
A further charge of aggravated robbery has also been laid against the man, police said.
He was remanded in custody and due to appear in Tauranga High Court on February 7.
The man was first arrested and charged with kidnapping in early December last year.
Bay of Plenty Detective Inspector Lindsay Pilbrow said the police investigation was now honing “in on the others involved” in the alleged murder.
“While today’s murder charge won’t bring Harley back, it has come as a huge relief for the Shrimpton family, who have spent their first Christmas without him.”
He continued: “Today’s charge signals a key development in the investigation, but police are not ruling out laying further charges against people who assisted the murder-accused during and after the incident.
“We remain committed to holding to account all those who played a part in the death of Harley Shrimpton and we are confident that the investigation is now beginning to hone in on the others involved.”
In December, police said the last confirmed sighting of Shrimpton alive was in the car park of McDonald’s Mt Maunganui on November 3.
His body was later found at an address on Poripori Road.
Pilbrow said today authorities now had “strong lines of enquiry” and urged people with information about the case to come forward.
“The investigation continues to focus on Harley’s movements after he was taken from a motor vehicle in Mount Maunganui on the afternoon of November 3, and subsequently into the Poripori Road area where his body was later found.
“Police and Harley’s family wish to acknowledge the significant public support shown following Harley‘s disappearance, to thank everyone who has come forward with information during the course of the investigation, and to urge anyone with information that could assist the investigation to contact police.”