Family grieves for body in boot victim

THE grieving family of a New Zealand man whose suspected remains were found inside his burned out car in the Wellsford Forest near Bendigo say he was honest, hard working and a good guy.

Homicide Squad detectives have arrested and charged two people with the murder of former Morrinsville man William John Stevenson following the discovery of the body on New Year's Day.

Mr Stevenson, 50, was a long-time Morrinsville resident but was living in Kerang when he disappeared.

Morrinsville is a town of about 7000 people in the Waikato region of New Zealand, 140 kilometres south-east of Auckland.

He has not been seen since leaving a friend’s house, near where the remains were later found, on Christmas Day.

He failed to show up for work at Hazeldene’s Chickens two days later.

A police officer found the burnt-out 1996 green Mitsubishi Magna on Norman Road in Wellsford on January 1 during a search at the request of detectives.

Mr Stevenson’s Morrinsville-based sister-in-law, Tracey Stevenson, said her brother lived in the Morrinsville area until he flew to Australia in 2011.

He had worked a succession of jobs but spent most of his working life farming.

‘‘As difficult as it is, [the family is] coping as much as we can with family support,’’ Ms Stevenson said. ‘‘All I will say is that he’s a hard working, honest, trustworthy, good guy. He certainly didn’t deserve having his life taken away like this.’’

Tracey Stevenson is married to Mr Stevenson’s brother, but close family members declined to speak to the Waikato Times.

Nor would she say if Mr Stevenson had any children.

An Australian detective is due in Morrinsville within the fortnight as part of the investigation, but Ms Stevenson could not say what those inquiries would entail.

It’s understood DNA will be used to identify the remains.

Morrinsville police station Vic Sneddon said the family asked on Monday how to recover Mr Stevenson’s belongings and ashes.

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