Police say a body found in the south Auckland suburb of Kingseat on Thursday morning may have been burned alive, and they've launched a homicide investigation.
The body of 21-year-old Shalvin Prasad was still on fire when it was discovered by a person walking their dog.
Mr Prasad spent his last agonising moments on the side of McRobbie Rd.
Police believe the Indian man was set alight while he was still alive and are now treating his death as a homicide.
“Disappearance is out of character, coupled with the fact that his vehicle, cell phone and wallet are missing, it would tend to indicate that there's another person or persons involved,” says Detective Inspector David Lynch.
Mr Prasad left his Dannemora home on Wednesday night, and told his parents he was driving to Manukau to play pool.
He drove his blue RAV4, with license plate ZG1674, which police are trying to locate.
When he didn't return by 10:30pm, his parents reported him missing.
A member of the public made a grisly discovery while they were out walking their dog on Thursday around 6:30am. They came past the spot where they noticed a body on fire, and then notified police.
When police arrived, a witness told them they saw two cars, one white and the other described as blue-silver, leaving McRobbie Rd at high speed. Police want to talk to the drivers.
“If the two vehicles that left McRobbie Rd are involved, then we're looking for at least two people,” says Det Insp Lynch.
Mr Prasad's family said he didn't like driving, and that it was strange that he was in the Kingseat area.
“We've got no indication that he's got any friends or associates within that general area, and certainly at this stage we have no reason to why he would be down there.”
Police are focussing their investigation on locating Mr Prasad's vehicle, and believe it could be in the hands of a car dealer.
“If it was dumped on the side of the road somewhere, it would have been unusual for it not to have been reported to police at this time. We're really appealing to people in the motor industry, second-hand healers, scrap dealers, or car dealers.”
A dozen police are working on the case, and that number is expected to rise on Monday, the same day Mr Prasad's funeral is expected to take place.