A 2-year-old girl who went missing from her west Auckland home yesterday was picked up by a member of the public and taken to their home, police have revealed.
The toddler, named Willow, went missing from her home on Zodiac St in Henderson about 2pm yesterday and hundreds of concerned residents joined police Search and Rescue during a six-hour search for the girl.
She was safely reunited with family outside their house in jubilant scenes around 7.45pm.
A police spokesperson revealed this morning a member of the public found Willow walking along Universal Drive and waited with the child.
“The person has taken the child back to their house and initiated a search by way of social media to locate the child’s parents.
“Other members of the public have seen the post and made the connection and in turn contacted Police.
“Police inquiries are ongoing.”
Police thanked the west Auckland community for their help as well as the volunteers and agencies who assisted with the search and provided support to those involved.
Willow’s cousin Aroha Tecklenburg yesterday told the Herald she was last seen in the garden playing with a sibling, and was wearing a pink jersey, jeans and black-and-white sneakers.
“All the kids were here on the property and we could hear them playing on the trampoline from inside,” said Tecklenburg.
“Then we came outside, and Willow was in front of us playing.”
The gate at the home was always locked when Willow was in the back garden, but may not have been secured properly that afternoon, Tecklenburg said.
She described the 2-year-old as initially reserved with strangers and “a mummy’s girl”, but said she was very talkative once she got to know a person.
“She has never wandered off on her own before,” she said. “Listen out for your neighbours for a continuously crying baby in West Auckland. Just listen out and bring her home, please.”
People involved in the search yesterday were equipped with torches or were using the light on their phones.
“Family and friends have gathered at the home on Zodiac St, hugging and crying, all full of emotion.”
Police Search and Rescue, LandSar, police, Community Patrol and the community were out in force, with images showing police searching a nearby creek.