NZ Local News

Police make announcement on Waikato River John Isaac homicide inquiry

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Police are set to reveal more information on the homicide investigation into the death of a man found in the Waikato River.

Detective Inspector Darrell Harpur will speak about “Operation Angelo” at the Ngāruawāhia Boat Ramp, off Lower Waikato Esplanade at 1pm.

The body of 52-year-old Hamilton man John Wirihana Isaac was discovered in water on the evening of January 18.

Police had launched a homicide investigation following a post-mortem examination.

Isaac was found at about 7pm by a group of people who had taken a boat to the river near Ngāruawāhia, Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson said previously.

Patterson said police are appealing for sightings of Isaac or any unusual activity around the area on the day.

Patterson said Isaac was believed to have been travelling around the Hamilton area where he resides and was last seen wearing black cargo pants and a green camouflage pattern T-shirt.

The Waikato River near Ngāruawāhia was where boaties discovered the body of the man on Thursday evening. Photo / file
The Waikato River near Ngāruawāhia was where boaties discovered the body of the man on Thursday evening. Photo / file

“To protect the investigation at this early stage, police are not in a position to elaborate further on the cause of death,” Patterson said.

“Police are continuing to piece together Mr Isaac’s movements in the days and hours leading up to his death and are appealing to anyone who may have seen or interacted with Mr Isaac in the days prior to Thursday, January 18.”

“The investigation team would also like to hear from anyone who saw any unusual activity near the Waikato River at any of the bridges between Hamilton and Ngāruawāhia in the afternoon.

“Anyone who was out on the river or its pathways and banks and may have been recording recreational activities or taken photos or video on their phones is asked to please contact the inquiry team.”

People with information can call 105 or make a report online at by clicking “Update Report” and referencing file number 240119/8775.

Information can also be provided anonymously to CrimeStoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

“This is an incredibly distressing time for Mr Isaac’s whānau who are being supported by NZ Police and Victim Support,” Patterson said.

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