Search for Paul Arber: Body found in river

December 12, 2013 Agencies
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As investigators work to formally identify the body of a man recovered from the Waikato River in Hamilton this morning, colleagues are taking steps to ensure a group of teenage rowers, who discovered the body, get all the support they need.

A recent photo of Paul Arber

A recent photo of Paul Arber

Waikato Field Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Karl Thornton, said two calls were received by members of the public shortly before 7am in relation to sightings of a body in the Waikato River.

“One of those calls was from a person involved with a school rowing team and members of this team encountered the body in the river while they were training.

“This person assisted in not only ensuring Police were aware of the situation but also worked to ensure the girls on board the rowing boat were managed as well as possible given the nature of what had occurred and we are currently working with this team to ensure they receive Victim, and any other support they may require.”

Mr Thornton said Police are working closely with the management of Hamilton Girls High School, where the team came from, to ensure the necessary steps in supporting the girls are taken.

In relation to this morning’s recovery, Mr Thornton said the body recovered from the river in an area off the suburb of Queenswood by 7.40am with the assistance of the Hamilton Police rescue launch and members of the Waikato Search and Rescue Squad.

“The person was brought back to Waikato Hospital where investigators have been able to establish the person was male. It will however, be some time before the formal identification process will be completed that will confirm for us the person’s identity.

“While it is natural to speculate the body recovered is that of missing 38-year-old Melbourne Man, Paul Arber, identifying people submerged in water for prolonged periods of time presents some challenges for investigators who will need to work through what is quite a time consuming process.”

Mr Thornton said despite this, Police have not received any other reports of missing persons they  believe could be linked to this morning’s recovery and Mr and Mrs Arber have been informed of today’s developments.

“They are understandably very upset with this latest turn of events however requested Police pass on a message on their behalf acknowledging the help and support from the people of Hamilton and their thanks to the media for profiling Paul’s case and the support they have received from Police.

“They have asked that their privacy at this time be respected, he said.”

As the identification process takes its course, Mr Thornton said other aspects of the inquiry into Mr Arber’s disappearance were continuing including the processing of sighting reports from the public.

“People are continuing to come forward and today we have reviewed footage of Mr Arber dressed just in black shorts on the forecourt of a Clyde St service station about 1.30am on Sunday.

“And we are currently interviewing someone this afternoon in relation to clothing discovered on Cook St which we believe is Paul’s. We ask that anyone with any information who hasn’t already been in contact with the investigation team contacts Police on 07 858 6200 or anonymously through the independent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

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