A post-mortem examination was carried out in Auckland today on the body of a woman who was found on fire on an isolated rural road west of Huntly on Thursday evening.
Officer in charge of Operation Hangapipi, Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall of the Waikato CIB, said the cause of death had been determined to have been as a result of the fire and the Police investigation is now a homicide enquiry.
"We believe an accelerant was used to start the fire and we are awaiting the results of forensic samples taken from the scene to determine what that was.
"A key point for the enquiry team has been establishing the woman's identity and her movements. As of a few minutes ago we believe we have been able to identify her.
Mr Keall said that as this information had only just come to hand it was too early to release her name but Police would look at doing this later in the day.
"With this latest development we're still asking for sightings of any vehicles or people on Hangapipi or Rotowaro Roads between the hours of 9-10.30pm and we ask that anyone who noticed anything untoward in the area, be that any discarded items of clothing or other items not to dismiss the item as rubbish but to make contact with the Huntly Police.
"That item may prove to be a key piece of the puzzle."
Anyone with any information on the case is asked to contact the Operation Hangapipi investigation team at the Huntly Police Station on 07 8287560. Alternatively information can be left anonymously on the CrimeStoppers crimeline, 0800 555111.