The investigation into a Dunedin house fire that was thought to have claimed two lives has taken a sinister turn, with police now treating the case as a double homicide.
In a statement today Detective Inspector Steve Wood says that due to evidence suggesting the pair were dead before the fire consumed the house, they are now treating this as a murder investigation.
Four fire crews battled the blaze, which broke out at a property in Wesley Street in Dunedin around 5:15am on January 22. It was initially believed the bodies recovered from the wreckage had died in the fire.
While the identities of the victims have not been made public, a post mortem has been performed and the bodies have been returned to the families.
Police are not releasing details of the cause of death as it is sensitive to their investigation.
A 46-year-old man will appear in Dunedin District Court today charged with arson, however no one has yet been charged in relation to the deaths.
Police are asking the public to assist them and have said they are particularly interested in "hearing about any movements of people, vehicles and motorbikes, near the Wesley street scene in the early hours of Monday morning."
People with any information can call Dunedin Police on 03 471 4800.
Information may also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555.