Canterbury police have admitted they did not find a body in the rural Christchurch suburb of Woodend, after a homicide investigation was launched on Thursday.
A spokesperson said there was no concern for the safety of members of the public.
On Saturday morning police said while no body was found, signs of a "very serious assault" were present at a Jeffs Rd address. On Thursday they said a body had been found.
They're now continuing to search the large rural property and looking for Oliver Johnston. There are serious concerns about his wellbeing.
The Jelfs Rd property being search belongs to Darryl and Katrina Morris, who live there with their teenage son, Stuff reports.
Mr Morris refused to comment when contacted by Stuff.
Anyone with information about an assault on Mr Johnston or details of his whereabouts since last weekend is urged to contact Christchurch police immediately on (03) 363 4872.