NZ Local News

Police conduct air search for missing Marokopa family

Thomas Phillips has been missing for five months with his three young children, Jayda, Ember and Maverick Phillips. Photo / File Police...

Editor Written by Editor · 1 min read >


Thomas Phillips has been missing for five months with his three young children, Jayda, Ember and Maverick Phillips. Photo / File

Police conducted an air search over the weekend for a Marokopa father and his three children who have been missing for the past five months.

The air search comes amid reports of new possible sightings of the family.

Tom Phillips and children – Jayda, 8, Maverick, 7, and Ember, 6 – have been missing since early December 2021. It’s suspected Phillips took the children into remote bushland near coastal Marokopa.

Phillips made a brief visit to a family member in early February to top up on supplies. The children have not been seen.

A police spokesperson said police used a fixed-wing plane to do checks in relation to the missing family over the weekend.

Police continued to search areas of interest as they came to their attention, the spokesperson said.

Newshub reported police were also investigating two separate sightings of the family on the outskirts of Ōtorohanga in the last two weeks.

Information supplied to police on Monday included a possible sighting of the children in a vehicle with a female known to the family.

A second possible sighting was of someone who resembled Phillips arriving on a four-wheeler at a local farm around two weeks ago, Newshub reported.

It’s the second time the father and his children have been missing. Police, emergency service teams, iwi and members of the local community searched for the family for 17 days in September last year, before they arrived at Phillips’ parents’ house.

His family said he had been staying in a tent in the bush. He was charged with wasting police resources.

When Phillips left again in December, police said was he not violating any court orders.

“In terms of what he can and can’t do, he’s doing nothing wrong,” West Waikato police area commander Inspector Will Loughrin said at the time.

Waikato West Area Commander Inspector Will Loughrin initially said Tom Phillips had not violated any court restrictions and done nothing wrong in that regard. Photo / Mike Scott
Waikato West Area Commander Inspector Will Loughrin initially said Tom Phillips had not violated any court restrictions and done nothing wrong in that regard. Photo / Mike Scott

Phillips later missed his January court appearance where he was due to face the charge of wasting police resources. Police subsequently issued a warrant for his arrest for failing to show.

Police stepped up efforts to find him earlier in the month by appealing on TV show Ten 7 Aotearoa for public help tracking him down.

Meanwhile, a family member said Oranga Tamariki had “closed the file” on the three children.

The child wellbeing organisation said it was unable to comment on the matter as it was before the courts and due to privacy concerns for those involved.

However, earlier in the month, the children’s sister said emails sent to her by the organisation stated it had “closed the file” on the children “with the understanding that police will re-notify on the return of the children”.

It feels like it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind”, she said at the time.

Subscribe to Premium



Source link

Herald afternoon quiz: August 18

Editor in NZ Local News
  ·   12 sec read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.