A coroner has ruled on the death of a Hawke's Bay man who was last seen a decade ago.
Philip Cowan, 26, disappeared after a visit to Wellington from 19-25 March in 2001.
Police became aware of Mr Cowan's disappearance about two months later. Investigations revealed he was growing and dealing cannabis.
Police believed he was selling cannabis to a person in Wellington while there for a farewell party.
Mr Cowan's car was found abandoned in Bulls about a week later.
Three men were charged with his murder, but at a trial in 2003 the judge ruled the evidence put forward could not be relied upon for a jury to convict.
The accused were discharged.
Coroner Gary Evans has ruled that Mr Cowan died at the hands of a person or persons unknown and his body was either destroyed or lost.