Five men have been charged with the murder and kidnapping of former Hawke's Bay man Codi Wilkinson, who was found dead at a Bunnythorpe property in September.

The five men arrested today are jointly charged in relation to Wilkinson's death, as well as participation in an organised criminal group.

They are also jointly charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, in relation to a second victim.

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All of the accused men are from Palmerston North. Two are aged 43 and the other three
are 30, 32 and 49.

Codi Wilkinson. Photo / Supplied
Codi Wilkinson. Photo / Supplied

They are scheduled to appear in the Palmerston North District Court on Wednesday.

"Police have worked hard to bring these men before the courts, and we would again like to reassure the community there has been, and continues to be, no risk to the public in relation to this investigation," says Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan.

As the matter is now before the court, Police are unable to provide further comment at this time.

Wilkinson's whānau released a statement today through police.

"We would like to thank the police for their investigation to date. We are happy that the prosecution has started, and we will follow the process closely."

Wilkinson's partner had earlier shared her anguish about losing him - and the pain of trying to explain his death to their three children.


The mother of his three young sons, paid tribute to him in a heartbreaking social media post.


"As hard as this is, it's true. I lost the love of my life of 10 years, the father of my three children and I'm still yet to believe it.

"It doesn't feel real and I'm not sure how I'll get through the rest of my life without him by my side.

"I've been robbed of my soul, my kids have been robbed of their dad. How the hell am I going to explain to them what the f*** happened? I've still got so many questions that need answers.''

Codi Wilkinson was found dead in Bunnythorpe.
Codi Wilkinson was found dead in Bunnythorpe.

Wilkinson's partner - who shared photos of the couple with their young children - also touched on the tragic circumstances of his death.

"I'm so hurt by the fact that I couldn't help and be by his side to hold him [and] hear his voice telling me: 'I love you, babe'.

"He meant so much to me and our boys and this is going to affect us in so many ways for the rest of our lives.''

At the time, police did not reveal any other details about the circumstances of Wilkinson's death; only saying that they were liaising with his family during this difficult time.

"A scene examination of the property where his body was found and the surrounding areas is ongoing,'' a police statement said.

Wilkinson's body was found on the grounds of a residential address in Bunnythorpe on. Police said at the time that they had "considerable concern" about the circumstances surrounding his death.

Wilkinson's partner earlier posted on Facebook calling for anyone who may know of her partner's whereabouts over the previous two weeks.

"I'm soulless without my soulmate by my side," she wrote.

It was believed Wilkinson had been missing for more than two weeks when his body was discovered.

Police guarded the property overnight after the grim discovery and a homicide investigation was launched after a post-mortem was completed.

"The man sustained serious injuries and while we are not able to detail the exact injuries, we are determined to find those responsible for his death," police said at the time.