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Ōtorohanga dad Tom Phillips briefly returns home for supplies

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Mar 2022, 2:06pm
Missing father Tom Phillips and his young children, from left, Jayda, Ember and Maverick. Photo / Supplied
Missing father Tom Phillips and his young children, from left, Jayda, Ember and Maverick. Photo / Supplied

Ōtorohanga dad Tom Phillips briefly returns home for supplies

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Mar 2022, 2:06pm

A King Country father charged with wasting police resources after he disappeared with his three young children has briefly returned home for supplies before leaving again. 

A warrant for the arrest of Ōtorohanga man Tom Phillips, 34, was issued after he failed to make an appearance at Te Kuiti District Court on January 12, in relation to the charge. 

The warrant is still outstanding, but Phillips' family advised police he made a brief return to a family property last month to pick up supplies. 

"He provided reassurances to his family that he and his children were well, however, did not disclose where they were living," Waikato West Area commander inspector Will Loughrin said. 

"Police continue to make inquiries to locate him, this includes ongoing contact with his family and the local community." 

Last September, Phillips sparked a large-scale search when his ute was found abandoned on Kiritehere Beach below the tide line with no sign of him or his two daughters and son – Jayda, 8, Maverick, 6, and Ember, 5. 

After the extensive search and rescue effort by a number of emergency services, the local community and iwi, Phillips and his children walked through the front door of his parent's home on September 28. 

They had been staying in a tent in dense bush, his family said. 

He was charged with the wasteful deployment of police resources following the 17-day search. 

In January, Phillips' ex-wife appealed to the public to help find her missing children once more. 

At that stage, she told Newshub the father and children hadn't been seen since December 10. 

"My babies are missing and there's no trace of them, this time it's been way longer and it's more of a worry. His truck hasn't even been sighted," she said. 

"I want people to keep an eye out, you know, they've been missing 34 days. Any pig hunters out there, anyone, if they see any sign of them please let us know." 

She added they could be anywhere in New Zealand, including the South Island. 

45 minutes after Phillips was due to appear in Te Kuiti District Court, the matter was called without him. Photo / Mike Scott 

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