Three people have been arrested and a manhunt is under way for a fourth who police say “is dangerous” and may be armed with a knife following the death of a man in a remote part of Tasmania.
Emergency crews found the body of a 69-year-old man when called to a property on Larcombes Road in Reedy Marsh about 6pm on Tuesday.
The man’s wife was taken to hospital for lacerations. Acting Commander Stuart Wilkinson said she had since been released.
Two men, aged 39 and 44 from Launceston, and a woman, aged 28, also from Launceston, are in police custody and assisting with inquiries.
Another man, Robert Gerard, 47, who police say can help with their inquiries, remains on the run but is believed to be within 3km of the crime scene.
A “significant” number of police have been called in, as well as specialist members of the force, to help with the frantic search.
“Information indicates that Mr Gerard may be armed and is wearing camouflage pants and a black vest. He is considered dangerous,” acting Commander Wilkinson said.
Local residents have been warned to make sure their properties are secure and to call police “immediately” if they notice a man acting suspiciously in the area.
Several have already fled their homes in fear despite acting Commander Wilkinson saying officers don’t believe there is any direct threat to the community.
Mr Gerard was last seen at a residence near Parkham on Wednesday morning.
“The information we have is that Mr Gerard is quite a capable bushman. He has the ability to remain in the bush for some time, he is quite skilled in bushcraft,” acting Commander Wilkinson said.
“We will be there as long as it takes. Our investigation will not be completed until he is located.”
Acting Commander Wilkinson would not elaborate on any motive for the man’s death.
Earlier, police said a “bat-type” weapon may have been used.
“Initial investigations indicate this was an isolated incident between people known to each other and that the offender may have been armed with a bat-type weapon,” police.
A Westpac rescue helicopter and drone technology are being used to help search for the man, while CIB and forensics officers remain at the house.
Police are combing the scene, and investigations are “expected to take some time”.
Charges are yet to be laid.