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Missing Marokopa family found safe and well

Sep 30, 2021

(Main image: (clockwise from top left) Tom Phillips, Jayda Phillips, Ember Phillips and Maverick Callam-Phillips Photo: Supplied / NZ Police.)

Police say Tom Phillips and his three children Jayda, Maverick and Ember have all been located safe and well in Marokopa today.

Phillips, 34, and Jayda Jin, 8, Maverick Callum-Phillips, 6, and Ember Phillips, 5, were last seen by family at Marokopa on 11 September.

The alarm was raised after Phillips' vehicle was found on a beach the following day.

In a brief statement, police said they had been found and further information will be provided this afternoon.

The mother of Phillips and grandmother of Jayda, Ember, and Maverick has told RNZ the family are relieved all four are safe and well.

Searchers combed the area for the King County family for almost two weeks before police suspended the search last week.

While there were concerns the family might have been all swept off the beach as the sea was particularly wild, the Phillipps family said that they hoped Tom had taken the children camping somewhere and that they were safe - but that they had no knowledge that he planned to do this.

Ōtorohanga District Mayor Max Baxter told Midday Report it had been an extensive search and he commended police for following through on the missing family.

He said he didn't know where the father and children had been, but he was "of the understanding it is well thought through prior to going bush" so there would be a few questions to be answered.

"But back to the point, how wonderful it is to have three young children that are alive and well."

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