Police start search of landfill in missing man case

Michael McGrath, 49, was last seen at his Checketts Ave home in Halswell on May 21. PHOTO: Supplied

Police are using army personnel to search the Kate Valley Landfill on Thursday for clues for the whereabouts of Christchurch missing man Michael McGrath.

The 49-year-old builder hasn’t been seen since May 21, when he was at his Checketts Ave home in Halswell, where he lived alone.

Twenty personnel from the Burnham Military Camp are assisting in the search, which is expected to take two weeks to complete.

It is the latest in a number of land, water and property searches which have taken place as part of the ongoing detailed investigation into Mr McGrath disappearance.

Michael McGrath was captured on CCTV camera shopping at Halswell New World two days before he disappeared. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Police still hold grave concerns for Mr McGrath’s safety.

Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney said the search will focus on a specific part of the landfill.

Kate Valley, in the Hurunui, is run by Transwaste Canterbury and sits on 1000ha of land, of which 37ha is used as a landfilling operation.

Waste, including asbestos, from Christchurch, Hurunui, Ashburton, Waimakariri and Selwyn is sent there.

A dive team combed through a number of bodies of water in the Halswell Quarry and near the intersection of Candys and Sabys Rds on Thursday.

Detective Inspector Sweeney said there was nothing found in those searches, but did not rule out the further use of the dive squad.

“Searching the landfill will obviously be a challenging task, and we are fortunate to have the personnel and logistical expertise of the NZ Army available to us,” he said.

He said a number of other persons of interest have come to police attention through good information from the public.

Detective Inspector Darryl Sweeney said the search of the landfill will be in specific location. PHOTO: Ashleigh Monk

“We are also looking at CCTV footage of highways in and out of Christchurch,” he said.

Operation Renovation, the name given to the search, has, and continues to be a meticulously detailed investigation with over 100 people involved in various phases, he said.

The inquiry team have received some good information from the public in relation to Michael’s disappearance, however information is still sought.

Anyone with information in relation to Michael’s disappearance is asked to contact Christchurch Central Police Station on 03 363 7400.

Information can also be shared anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.