Sunday, November 28

The search for missing father and sons continues


Family and friends cruised the rugged King Country coastline today at the beaches of Marokopa and Kiritehere, but still had no luck finding Thomas Phillips and his children, or any items of interest.

A bird's eye view of Marokopa beach.

A bird’s eye view of Marokopa beach.
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

The coastal search from land resumed on Saturday morning in the remote area of ​​Marokopa, west of Te Kuiti.

Thomas Phillips and his three young children, Jayda Jin, 8, Maverick Callum-Phillips, 6, and Ember Phillips, 5, were last seen on Saturday, September 11, in Marokopa, west of Te Kuiti.

Phillips’ vehicle was found in Kiritehere Beach on Sunday, but searches along the shoreline and in the dense undergrowth found no sign of them.

Police and LandSAR teams searched land close to the coast.

Search teams were overwhelmed by the amount of food arriving at the search base in Marokopa.

Tracey Mitchell, whose family owns a vacation home in Marokopa, stopped by with some homemade cookies.

Note on the door of the search headquarters.

Note on the door of the search headquarters.
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

“We buy things, but the community has given us too much food, so we needed cream, so the policeman gave us cream.”

Police said they knew that people in the community wanted to conduct their own searches to help, but had concerns.

West Waikato area commander Will Loughrin said the area has difficult terrain.

Clockwise from top left, Thomas Phillips, Jayda Jin, Ember Phillips, and Maverick Callum-Phillips.

Clockwise from the top left; Thomas Phillips, Jayda Jin, Ember Phillips, and Maverick Callum-Phillips.
Photo: Supplied / New Zealand Police

“We understand that people want to help, however the search area is extremely challenging and we do not want a situation where people are injured or trapped, causing another search or rescue incident.

“We ask anyone who wishes to seek to stay safe in the sandy beach areas only in Marokopa and Kiritehere.”

A bird's eye view of Marokopa beach.

A bird’s eye view of Marokopa beach.
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

Loughrin also asked those in the area to deal with any evidence they could find. He said that if anything of interest was found, it should be photographed first if possible, and then the police should be called immediately at 105.

“The police would prefer to have the opportunity to go through all the items located and then discount them if they are not important,” he said.

Will Loughrin, West Waikato Commanding Inspector.

Will Loughrin, West Waikato Police Area Commanding Inspector.
Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

Consultations on the motorcycle and the ute continue

Of the motorcycles believed to have been recently owned by Phillips and that police were searching for, they have ruled out that any 2004 Honda XR400 is linked to the disappearance.

However, the police still want to find the location of a 2019 Honda CRF50.

And they continue to search for information about the time Phillips ute was on the beach at Marokopa.

“This continues to be an important line of investigation … and we strongly encourage anyone who has had any direct interaction with the vehicle and has not yet spoken to the police to get in touch as soon as possible,” Loughrin said.

Anyone who has seen the ute should call the police at 105.


www.rnz.co.nz

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