Missing person update: Body found in Katikati believed to be Shaun Donovan

A body, believed to be missing man Shaun Donovan, has been found in Katikati.

Police confirmed today they received a report about 5.45pm on Saturday that a body had been located in the vicinity of the Wharawhara track, Katikati.

Police said in a statement that while formal identification was yet to take place, they believed the body is that of local man Donovan, who was reported missing in August.

The death will be referred to the Coroner.

Donovan has not been seen since August 13. He was first reported missing to police by his flatmate, who said he knew immediately something was not right when Shaun did not return home on August 13.

Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times in September, Donovan’s father John Donovan said his son was “the sort of guy who goes out of his way to help people”.

John, who suffers physically from a workplace injury nearly 30 years ago, moved to Taumarunui when his cancer returned three months ago.

He saw CCTV footage of his son walking into the Kaimai Range on Wharawhara Rd by himself – wearing jeans, a hoodie, and basketball sneakers – but he did not come out.

After hearing the search would start in the bush, John made his way over several times, standing in the car park.

“It’s been incredibly hard because I can’t get up there myself.”

Police had since scaled back the search after an extensive search was completed the in the Wharawhara Rd area by Land Search and Rescue volunteers.

“It was expected,” John said.

“I didn’t think it would hit me as hard as it did, but I had a bit of a breakdown and a cry when they stopped the search.”

John said those who knew Shaun would call him an avid movie buff, and those who did not know him might be able to guess by the movie logos tattooed on his arms.

Shaun’s caring nature and love of movies combined to help his father through his initial cancer treatment – downloading, streaming, and buying films for his dad to watch while he was sick.

The family had lived around New Zealand working in a range of industries; from farms to motels, to cafes, John says, reminiscing about working alongside his son.

“A really cool dude, a really cool son,” he said.

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