Free State - A Free State vehicle theft unit police officer was found murdered in a park behind his office in Welkom, police said on Tuesday.

Police spokeswoman Sergeant Puleng Motsoeneng said the 44-year-old captain had a stab wound in the neck.

He also had severe injuries to his knees and head, indicating that his attackers might have run over him with his car. The captain was the duty officer for the vehicle verification unit during the weekend.

His wife last saw him on Sunday at 7.52pm.

He was found when a passing police patrol noticed an abandoned car in the park and established it was registered to the police. The officer's body was lying behind the vehicle.

The motive for his death was unknown and no arrests had been made yet. - Sapa