Whangarei man Brian Bench found deceased following four days of searches

Whangārei man Brian Bench has been found deceased following four days of intensive searches by Northland search and rescue teams.

Police spokesman Ryan Gray said Bench was located just off the Ross Track at Mt Parihaka at about 2.30pm on Sunday.

The 72-year-old was about 50m away from the road, in an area well covered by bush.

The family have been informed, Gray said.

“It’s extremely sad for everyone involved, it’s not what we hope when we come to work each day, but we’re happy we can return Brian to his family.

“He was well known to a lot of people.”

Bench, who had dementia, went missing from his home on Memorial Dr, near Riverside Dr in Parahaki, last Wednesday.

The night he went missing, he went to bed around 8pm, and his wife later woke to find he had left.

Earlier on Sunday, police said they had “grave concerns” for the elderly man as the search went into its fourth day with heavy rain and more bad weather forecast early this week.

Police had concentrated Sunday’s search on Memorial Dr after new CCTV footage was obtained showing him walking up the hill last Wednesday at 10pm.

The search has involved Northland’s Land Search and Rescue team, police Land Search and Rescue and Coastguard who have scoured the areas around the Town Basin and other Whangarei waterways.

Search teams have also door knocked houses in the area and walked tracks in Dobbies Park and Ross Park over the last several days.

Police thanked the public for the overwhelming turnout and help on Saturday.

More than 100 people along with over 50 search and rescue individuals focussed on the 300m radius around his property.

The search concluded on Saturday night with the police eagle helicopter circling the Riverside area using thermal imaging gear.

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