The mother of three children who were last seen 34 days ago is urging the public to keep an eye out for her “babies” after their father failed to show up to court on Wednesday.
Thomas Phillips, 34, was charged with wasteful deployment of police resources following the 17-day search in September.
Phillips, and his three young children, Jayda Jin, 8, Maverick Callum-Phillips, 7, and Ember Phillips, 5, 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”.
“Day 7 and counting,” the post said.
The family’s whereabouts remain unknown and they have now not been seen for 34 days.
The children’s mother told Newshub she just wants her “babies” back and to know they are safe.
“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,” said Phillips’ ex-wife.
The mother is urging anyone out and about to keep an eye out for her children and get in touch if they see any sign of the family.
“There is nothing to lead us to them – they could be anywhere, even in the South Island,” she told Newshub.
“We just want our babies back and to know they are safe. It’s been really hot lately if he’s just feeding them on meat – you can do that for so long but not kids you know, they need vegetables.”
Next week, Ember will be turning 6 and her mother hopes they will reunite in time for a birthday celebration.
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.
This morning, Phillips was scheduled to appear in person at Te Kuiti District Court facing the single charge of wasting police resources.
But 45 minutes after the hearing was scheduled to start, he still hadn’t shown up and the matter was called without him.
A warrant was issued for Phillips’ arrest.
Phillips’ first appearance was originally scheduled for November but it was delayed due to Covid-19.
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