A homicide investigation has started after a child was found dead in Southland yesterday.

Police in Invercargill are looking into the death of an 8-year-old understood to have died in suspicious circumstances in Otautau – a small farming town about 45 minutes west of Invercargill.

Southland Police area commander, Inspector Mike Bowman, said it was an “isolated incident”.

“Police are speaking to a number of witnesses in relation to the incident. We wish to reassure members of the public this was an isolated incident and there is no threat to their safety”.

It is understood there was a hive of police activity in the area late last night – around 11pm.

Police said they were called to the area about 10.30pm yesterday.

They would not say whether they were looking for anyone in relation to the incident or whether anyone has been taken into custody.

“More information will be released proactively when it becomes available,” police said.

Two properties remained under police guard early this morning, police said.
The circumstances of the child’s death is not yet known.

A southern fire communications spokeswoman told the Herald they were called to a “medical response” to the area last night, but referred all other inquiries to police.

Police are appealing to members of the public who may have information about the incident to contact authorities immediately.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Invercargill Central Police on: (03) 211 0400, the non-emergency police hotline 10-5 or anonymously via CrimeStoppers: 0800 555 111.

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