Police ‘frustrated’ as search to locate Marokopa family continues

Police are “frustrated” with the lack of information being disclosed to them in the search for Thomas Phillips and his three children.

Western Waikato Area Commander Inspector William Loughrin said police are in ongoing contact with Phillips’ family and the local community as they continue to make inquiries to locate him.

Earlier this year, 34-year-old Phillips did not show up for a court date to face a charge connected to an earlier disappearance, with a judge subsequently issuing a warrant for his arrest.

While police are dedicated to locating the family, Loughrin said they are frustrated by the lack of information being disclosed.

“We believe there are people which will help us.

“We strongly urge them to share these details with us as soon as possible.”

At the time, Loughrin said the warrant remained outstanding following his failure to appear in the Te Kuiti District Court on January 12.

Phillips’ first appearance was originally scheduled for November but it was delayed due to Covid-19.

Phillips, and his three young children, Jayda Jin, Maverick Callum-Phillips and Ember Phillips, went missing on September 11.

After an extensive search and rescue effort by a number of emergency services, the local community and iwi, Phillips and his children turned up at his parents’ home on September 28. They had been staying in a tent in dense bush, his family said.

Following the family’s return, a Facebook post in December stated the father and children were “missing” again, and that the family want “these poor babies back”.

When the family disappeared a second time, police confirmed they were making inquiries, but no search was launched and police said there were no immediate concerns for their safety.

Phillips has been described as a resilient man as well as an experienced bushman, fisherman and hunter.

It appeared the family stayed in a tent during their time in dense bush in September.

Anyone who has information that can assist police in locating Tom Phillips, is encouraged to contact police on 105 and quote file number 211218/5611.

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