Questions have been raised about the mental health and fitness to plead of Alex Fisher's older brother, who was yesterday charged with the 10-year-old's murder.
Eric Baden McIsaac, 25, appeared in the Levin District Court this afternoon and entered no plea.
Judge Tim Black kept him in custody until his next appearance in the High Court at Palmerston North later this month, telling him an "issue has been raised in relation to your fitness to plead".
At the suggestion of defence lawyer Letizea Ord, the judge ordered McIsaac to undergo mental health assessments.
Reports were ordered at a previous court appearance, but Judge Black said McIsaac didn't "engage" with the process.
Ms Ord said she had now explained to her client how it worked.
Members of Alex's family sat in the court's public gallery and Judge Black acknowledged their presence.
"I know how difficult it must be for them."
During his appearance McIsaac looked around the courtroom, as he was flanked in the dock by three police officers.
Alex's body was found on Waitarere Beach, near Levin, on October 8 after an extensive search of the seaside Horowhenua town.
Police had previously released CCTV footage showing Alex and McIsaac together in the local store on October 5. Court documents now reveal Alex was allegedly murdered by McIsaac either that night or the next day.
McIsaac also didn't enter pleas to charges laid last month of unlawful possession of a knife in a public place, burglary and a charge that is suppressed.
The unlawful possession of a knife charge names Forest Rd, Waitarere Beach, as the location of the alleged offence on October 6. This is where the search for Alex was centred.
The burglary charge alleges McIsaac unlawfully entered a property on Park Ave, Waitarere Beach, between late September and early October.
Away from court, Horowhenua deputy mayor Garry Good said speculation in the community would be put to rest with the laying of the murder charge.
"It's only a charge. It's not a conviction, but at least people who may have been perturbed about the little boy in their community and whether or not there was somebody still out there ... it puts their minds at rest in that regard."
But news Alex's brother was suspected of killing him was a "tragedy".
Police have said Alex's family were still coming to terms with their grief, and the family today released the following statement: "We would like to acknowledge and thank the people in the Horowhenua community and around New Zealand for the heartfelt messages and support we have received."
Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Forlong said the homicide investigation was continuing to make good progress.
"While today's murder charge represents a significant step as the inquiry team works towards finding answers for Alex and his family, there is still a lot of work to be done," he said.
"The investigation team's focus is on ensuring we complete a very robust and thorough investigation to support the court process going forward."