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Police suspend daily searches for Marokopa family

Phillips and the children were last seen at the family farm at Marokopa. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin.

Police have now met with the family of Tom, Jayda, Maverick and Ember Phillips to discuss how the search will be managed going forward.

For the past 12 days a dedicated team of searchers, supported by the local community, have been combing the inland and coastal areas of Marokopa and Kiritehere looking for Tom and the children.

Waikato West Area Commander Will Loughrin says at this time we have not located any sign of them.

“The family understands Police remain committed to bringing their loved ones home however at this time the daily physical searches will be suspended and we will move into a 'reactive' phase.

“This means Police will be available to react to any new information as it comes to hand and initiate searching as required.

“The enquiry phase of the operation is still ongoing with our investigators continuing to follow-up information as it comes in.

“We implore anyone who finds any items of interest, including clothing, on the coastline areas extending as far north as Papanui Point (near Raglan) and as far south as Waikawau Beach, to contact Police.

“If you locate an item that might have significance, please photograph it as you have found it, and contact Police on 111.

“If you can secure the item then do so.

“If you are not sure whether to inform us about what you have found, we would rather have the opportunity to discount the item, so please let us know.

“Police would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have put their time and energy, many on a voluntary basis, to help search for Tom and the children.

“This includes Fire and Emergency NZ, Surf Life Saving NZ, LandSAR volunteers, Coastguard NZ, Maniapoto iwi, local community members, and others who have donated vehicles, food and other resources.

“We would also remind anyone who is choosing to conduct their own on-going searches to do so taking safety into consideration.

“Much of the coastline area is challenging and people should stay in sandy beach areas only,” says Will.

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