It was the flash of a man's face that led a passing motorist to discover the body of a Te Kauwhata man two days after he went missing.
Jayden Paratai Davis was found lying in a pool of water among flax bushes next to the railway lines that run alongside State Highway 1 in Ngaruawahia, near the intersection with River Rd, a Hamilton coroner's inquest heard today.
Dayna Kete was driving to the movies with his children when he saw a flash, which he struggled to describe to police, before turning around to have another look.
Unable to see anything, he turned back around to head back towards Hamilton.
And again he saw the flash. This time he pulled over to the left, ran across the road and saw Davis' body lying in the pool of water.
Coroner Gordon Matenga today held an inquest into Davis' death after a police investigation determined that no one should be accountable.
He ruled that Davis, 24, sheltered from heavy rain for several hours before embarking on a walk home back to Te Kauwhata, but only getting 500m down the road before he has been fatally, and accidentally, struck by a train.
Detective Geoff Evans told the coroner that Davis, his partner Ashton-Leigh Whatarangi and other family members had been attending a Tribal Pride concert at Turangawaewae Marae on Saturday July 8, last year.
Whatarangi told the inquest she spent most of the night with her girlfriends, while Davis partied with his guy friends.
They'd bumped into each other throughout the evening, after arriving between 8pm and 8.30pm, and he seemed in good spirits, she said.
There were a couple of scuffles at the event, the last of which involved members of the Tribal Huks and Mongrel Mob.
After the scuffle, which spread out on to the street, the Davis whānau decided to leave.
However, she said in the confusion of the scuffle no one realised that Davis was not in either of the two vans they had organised to get home.
It was when they arrived at Taupiri they discovered he was missing and turned back around to have a look for him.
They put out a message on the loudspeaker, about 10.30pm, without any success. They headed back home about 10.45pm.
Discovering he was still not home the next morning, the whānau put a message on social media but there were still no clues as to what happened.
The inquest heard he was reported missing to police at 6.38pm on the Sunday night.
Kete, who was working as security at the marae's event, was driving along Great South Rd the following when he spotted Davis' body.
"When I came back there was this flash, and I can't explain it. I had people texting me to see if I was okay but after the initial shock I sort of felt at peace. I have only just started driving past that same spot," he told the coroner.
Evans told the coroner that Davis was known to walk "substantial distances" home along the tracks.
Pathologist Dr Duncan Lamont agreed and said all of his injuries were on his back, consistent with being hit by a train.
The coroner suggested that given his blood alcohol level it was likely that there had been a delay in him stopping drinking and being hit by the train.
When asked if it would be out of the question for him to die in the early hours of the morning about 2am, Lamont said that would fit with his blood and urine alcohol levels.
Matenga asked Whatarangi if Davis was known to walk home along the train tracks. She said it was, especially if he had been drinking.
Kiwirail staff inspected their fleet but could not find any evidence of impact with Davis.
In his decision which he delivered to the inquest, which was packed with family and friends, the coroner ruled his death was accidental after being struck by a train going through the scene at 2.42am.
"It's also most likely that he has sheltered somewhere from the heavy rain that occurred shortly after the concert ended.
"He was inebriated, he would have been tired and it's quite clear he didn't notice the train coming from behind.
"He was struck by the train and that is what has caused his death."
Davis' family declined to comment outside court after the inquest.