New Zealand father Tom Phillips sighted 18 months after he and his three children Jayda, Maverick and Ember went missing
- Missing dad Tom Phillips seen in Kawhia in NZ’s north
- Father and his three children missing for 18 months
- They previously went missing for 18 days living in a tent
A father who has been missing with his children for 18 months has been sighted.
Tom Phillips and his three children Jayda, Maverick and Ember were reported missing from Marokopa on the west coast of New Zealand‘s north island by family members on January 18, 2022.
On August 2, the father of three was reportedly seen driving a brown/bronze 2003 Toyota Hilux flat-deck ute on State Highway 31 in the Kāwhia area, on New Zealand’s north island.
NZ Police say the children were not with him.
Inspector Will Loughrin said police responded to multiple reported sightings southwest of Hamilton but as yet have been unable to locate the missing father.
On August 2, the father of three was reportedly seen driving a brown/bronze 2003 Toyota Hilux flat-deck ute (pictured) on State Highway 31 in the Kāwhia area, on New Zealand’s north island
Tom Phillips (pictured) and his three children Jayda, Maverick and Ember were reported missing from Marokopa by family members on January 18, 2022
‘Officers will be following up in the area today, speaking with locals, and continue to appeal to anyone who may have information to come forward to the police,’ Inspector Loughrin said.
‘Our priority is, and has always been, working to locate Tom and the children to ensure their welfare, and we have continued to follow up on information reported to us where relevant.’
Anyone with any information is urged to come forward.
The father and his three young children first went missing on September 11, 2021.
Police and emergency services alongside hundreds of volunteers and locals spent days searching for the family after his ute was found below the high tide mark on Kiritehere Beach.
Some 18 days later they returned to the family farm with relatives revealing they had spent the time living in a tent in dense bushland.
However, months later they disappeared again, with the last sighting of the father and his three children on December 9, 2021.
On January 12, 2022, Phillips failed to show up for his court appearance for a charge of causing wasteful deployment of police personnel and resources, with his absence leading to a warrant for his arrest.
Family members have reportedly hired a private investigator tasked with finding them, with a $10,000 bounty on any information on their whereabouts.
When the father went missing the first time, the uncle of the missing man, Paul Phillips, expressed his worry about the safety of the children.
He said Tom Phillips is a capable hunter who knew how to look after himself and knew his way around the bush.
When contacted by the NZ Herald this week he said: ‘Out of respect for Tom and his safety there is nothing that I can say.’