A Bay of Plenty toddler whose death is now the subject of a homicide inquiry died just days after her baby brother was born.

The two-year-old's body was found on tidal flats in the close-knit town of Little Waihi last Thursday after police were initially called to the area because of "reports of a public disorder".

Residents said a man had been running naked in the area.

Police have now begun a homicide investigation into the girl's death after receiving results from an autopsy on her body, Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner confirmed today.

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A family friend, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Herald police had been speaking to a man as part of their investigation.

Her death came just three days after her grandmother posted a message to a public Facebook page announcing the birth of the toddler's younger brother.

"Congratulations to the new addition to Little Waihi - a baby boy," she wrote in the post on March 18.

A long-term Little Waihi resident, who asked not to be named, also told the Herald that the girl's mother had given birth to a boy recently.

"I believe she was still in Tauranga Hospital when her little girl's body was found, and I also understand the woman's mother was coming from Hastings to support her," he said.

"Like everyone else in this tight community, I was shocked and very sad when I learned about the little girl's death."

The two-year-old girl's death in Little Waihi last week is now the subject of a homicide investigation. Photo / Andrew Warner
The two-year-old girl's death in Little Waihi last week is now the subject of a homicide investigation. Photo / Andrew Warner

A family friend earlier told the Herald, the mother had been moved from hospital to a hotel shortly after her daughter's death as police conducted investigations at the family's Little Waihi home.

The Herald can also reveal that the family's home had been at the centre of a dispute between the girl's father Aaron Broughton, also known as Aaron Pascoe, and the Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

The trust owned the land in Little Waihi, including that which the home sits on, and had been trying to evict Broughton and his family.

Broughton had hoped to stay in the home, arguing that - although the land was leased - the home had been owned by the family for more than 40 years after his grandparents bought it in the 1970s and stayed there until his grandmother died last year.

Te Arawa wouldn't comment at the time on why it had sought to evict Broughton and his family from the property.

A male security officer today stood guard at a police cordon at the front gate of the Broughton's property.

Six police divers were also searching in and around the eastern side of the Little Waihi estuary.

The search area was about 50m from the Bledisloe Avenue Holiday Park. The park's owners said they had spoken with police but did not comment further.

Another Little Waihi resident said they felt like there was an eerie "sadness hanging over our entire village".