Police have identified a woman whose body was found in a drain on the side of State Highway 2 just north of Napier.
Area commander Inspector Kevin Kalff says a cyclist discovered the body near the settlement of Bay View about 11am on Wednesday.
Mr Kalff says police believe it is that of a 47-year-old local woman last seen alive on Wednesday night walking a small black long-haired terrier on a lead.
Police have launched a homicide inquiry and want to hear from anyone who may have seen the woman and the dog in the Bay View area.
Fifteen police are working on the case.