Mother of missing Marokopa family speaks out

Source: 1 NEWS

The mother of three missing children has spoken out today, thanking agencies for their efforts in trying to find her children and their father Tom Phillips who have not been seen since September 11.

Phillips and his children Jayda Jin, 8, Maverick, 6, and Ember, 5, have been the focus of police Operation Marokopa since their disappearance was reported.

Search and rescue teams have combed the area of Kiritehere and Marokopa since September 13, looking for the family after Phillips’ ute was found at Kiritehere Beach.

In a statement on Monday, police included a message from the mother of the three missing children.

“On behalf of Jayda, Maverick and Ember’s mother, our extended families and friends, we would like to extend our utmost thanks and gratitude to Waikato Police Search and Rescue staff, Waitomo LandSAR, Hamilton LandSAR, Fire and Emergency New Zealand for their drone operations and for catering for the searchers, and Surf Life Saving NZ for their time on the water.

“We also want to thank the air support units who have been helping with the search, the local iwi and community for their support, and preparation of food donations, any koha given and the families of everyone mentioned for supporting them during their time helping our family.

“We have been incredibly humbled by the generosity and support shown by everyone during this difficult time.

“We all just want Tom, Jayda, Maverick and Ember home,” the mother said.

Waikato West Area Commander Inspector Will Loughrin said the physical search is ongoing today with police search teams doing shoreline searches in the area at low-tide.

“Searches by air are being undertaken by a Coastguard NZ air patrol using a fixed-wing plane, a local helicopter operator with police air observers on board, and the Police drone.”

Police are asking for members of the public who have any photos or video footage showing the weather or sea conditions at both Marokopa and Kiritehere on the weekend of 11 and 12 September, to please make contact.

This can be done by calling 105 and quoting file number 210913/1952.