Police say intense investigations led to the 27-year-old man they say was involved in a hit and run now facing a murder charge.
Matthew David Kinghorn was remanded in custody at the New Plymouth District Court on Thursday until 8 November.
He was initially charged with manslaughter in relation to the death of Anne Elizabeth McCullough, who was found dumped in the back seat of a car on the outskirts of the city on Saturday.
Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward says the murder charge has come about as a result of intense investigations over the past four days.
Mr Kinghorn entered no plea.
The court heard a report assessing his mental state and his ability to be able to plead will be prepared.
The police initially said the mother-of-two was hit on Frankley Road while out running and then taken to an area known as the Meeting of the Waters.