Police say the body discovered in a burnt-out car in North Canterbury is likely to be that of Christchurch car salesman Shane Malcolm Bell.
But they've ruled out the bullet holes found in the vehicle’s exterior as having anything to do with the suspicious death.
The five bullet holes were discovered near the fuel tank of the scorched car where Mr Bell's incinerated body was found.
Police are now confident the shots have nothing to do with the 28-year-old's death.
“On the Friday evening a group of shooters were out in the area and they sighted a rifle on that car,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer of Christchurch Police.
Mr Bell's body was spotted in the front seat of a 1989 white Subaru near Loburn by a group of four-wheel drive enthusiasts on Sunday.
Mr Bell was last seen by his family on Thursday morning, and police believe the vehicle went up in flames that afternoon.
“We are still going to be focusing on really what Shane has been up to and who has he been speaking to and try to confirm his movements before his death,” says Mr Archer.
Police have spoken to the registered owner of the vehicle, who is an associate of Mr Bell's, and are now urgently appealing to anyone who may have seen the car between Thursday and Sunday.