The homicide investigation into the death of Whanganui man James Butler has turned to a search for weapons involved.

The National Dive Squad has been called in to search the Whanganui River and police will be carrying out further forensic examinations at the scene on Thursday and Friday.

Butler was found dead at a Wikitoria Rd property when emergency services were called to the scene on Sunday evening.

A specialist search group is also carrying out an examination on Wikitoria Rd.


Police are hoping to find weapons the offenders involved in Butler's death may have discarded.

On Wednesday police said the death of the 53-year-old was not the result of a random attack.

"The people in this incident are known to each other," a spokesperson said.

No arrests have been made.

Corrections confirmed on Tuesday Butler was on a community-based sentence after a request from NZME considered under the Official Information Act.

It is believed Butler was on home detention.

Read more: Police name man at centre of homicide investigation

The homicide investigation was launched the day after Butler as found dead and another man in his 50s was found seriously injured.


Anyone who may have information which could assist in this investigation is asked to contact Police.

Information can be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.