Patrice Dougan is the Herald's education reporter.

Missing man may be homicide victim

An Otago man who has been missing for almost a year is now believed to have been the victim of a homicide, police say.

Simon Garrick, 42, has not been seen since October 2012, and has been officially reported as missing since May.

However, police now believe Mr Garrick - a known heavy drug user - may no longer be alive, and have appealed to criminal or drug associates to come forward.

"It is no secret that Simon has been involved within the Otago criminal fraternity and has been a known heavy drug user," Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw of the Southern Police said.

"I believe that the key to solving the mystery of his disappearance lies with members in this group and I appeal to anyone who has knowledge of what happened to Simon to come forward.

"Our main focus in this investigation is to find Simon whatever the circumstances may be."

He said people involved in Mr Garrick's disappearance may have "got caught up in a situation that's not of their own making and beyond their control, and subsequently shown poor judgement", and appealed for them to come forward.

"Over time allegiances change and I am sure that the knowledge that will enable Simon to be returned to his family, is held by someone in our community," he said.

Mr Garrick was last seen at the Caversham Four Square supermarket in Dunedin on Tuesday, October 30 last year. There has been no activity on his phone or bank accounts since.

Mr Garrick also missed his father's funeral, in December 2012, and police believe they are now investigating a homicide, said Mr Shaw.

Seven detectives have been working on the case, taking their inquiries as far as Australia to try to uncover what happened.

Mr Garrick's case featured on Police Ten 7 last night.

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