A man has been charged with murder following the death of mother-of-three Barbara Quinn.

The 41-year-old West Coast woman was reported missing on Friday evening after reportedly going home for lunch.

Her body was found the following afternoon in a car on Notown Road, in Greymouth.

A man, found nearby with moderate injuries, has since been charged with murder and one count of assault, a police spokesperson said.

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The 36-year-old male will appear in Christchurch District Court on Monday.

Anyone who was in Notown Road between midday on Friday 6 December and 3pm on Saturday 7 December should get in touch with police, the spokesperson said.

"Information can be provided by calling 105, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

The post mortem was completed today and official identification will take place tomorrow morning.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kirsten Norton said her thoughts were with Quinn's family during this extremely difficult time.

"Police held serious concerns for Ms Quinn's safety and this is the worst possible outcome," she said.

"They've lost a truly loved and valued member of their family and we urge media to respect their privacy while they begin the process of confronting this loss."

Norton earlier said they had "serious concerns" for the mother-of-three and appealed for urgent sightings. They were also searching for her white Mazda Axella hatchback.

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Her disappearance was out of character, according to friends who were worried all day today while a large police operation was under way.

Locals believe that Quinn, who works in an office locally, went home from work around lunchtime yesterday and hadn't been seen since.