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Police offer $80,000 reward for information missing Marokopa children

Rachel Maher,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Jun 2024, 10:44am

Police offer $80,000 reward for information missing Marokopa children

Rachel Maher,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Jun 2024, 10:44am

- Police offer an $80,000 reward for information on Tom Phillips’ missing children. 

- Phillips, whose last reported sighting was in August, is believed to be aided by associates in evading capture. 

- The reward includes immunity from prosecution, valid until June 25, 2024. 

Waikato police have announced a $80,000 reward for useful information that will lead to the return of Tom Phillips’ children.  

Police have also deployed a team to Marokopa as the hunt for Phillips and his children enters a new phase.  

The search for Phillips and his three children, Ember (8), Maverick (9) and Jayda (10) ramped up after a sighting of him last August after they went missing in December 2021. 

Acting Detective Inspector Andrew Saunders said they have concerns “for the welfare of the children who have been living in isolation for the past two-and-a-half years, with no connection to others and without formal education and health care”. 

He said police believe the Phillips is being assisted by other people and they’re urging those people to come forward. 

Saunders said police will be visible in the Marokopa community over the coming days. 

“We are committed to finding these children and we’re willing to take the step of offering a reward if it will prove the tipping point to help people put the children’s welfare first,” Saunders said. 

“It is hereby notified that a reward of up to $80,000 will be paid for material information or evidence which leads to the location and safe return of Jayda, Maverick and Ember Phillips.” 

The Commissioner of Police will determine the amount of the reward and will apportion it if there is more than one claimant.” 

Immunity against prosecution will also be considered. The offer will remain in force until 25 June 2024. 

Sightings of Tom Phillips and his children.Sightings of Tom Phillips and his children. 

Phillips evaded the attention of police for 19 months before he was seen shopping while wearing a disguise, stole a car and then got into a fight with a member of the public last August.  

Police then linked Phillips to a bank robbery last May.  

The latest incident involving Phillips saw him allegedly steal a bike with one of his children and smash a storefront on November 2 - almost two years after he and his three children disappeared. 

Information can be provided to the investigation team by contacting the 105 reporting line, quoting the file number 211218/5611, or by emailing to the dedicated email address [email protected]. 

“We wish to reiterate that Tom Phillips faces charges in relation to aggravated robbery, aggravated wounding, and unlawful possession of a firearm as a result of a criminal investigation separate to the missing persons investigation,” Saunders said. 

“Police consider him to be armed and he should not be approached. Sightings of Phillips should be reported to Police by calling 111 immediately.” 

Rachel Maher is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022. 

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