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June 11, 2024

Marokopa kids Missing, Police Offering $80,000 reward for information leading to safe return;

 Ember (8), Maverick (9), and Jayda (10) have been missing since December 2021 after their father, Tom Phillips, took them without legal custody. Authorities believe they may be in Western Waikato, particularly in Marokopa or nearby areas.

Phillips is currently wanted by police for charges related to aggravated robbery, aggravated wounding, and unlawful possession of a firearm, stemming from a separate criminal investigation. Today, police announced an $80,000 reward for information leading to the children’s safe return.

“We believe that Tom and the children are being assisted, and we’re urging anyone who’s doing this to please stop, do the right thing, and tell Police what you know,” said Acting Detective Inspector Andrew Saunders. He emphasized that immunity against prosecution might be considered for those who provide information or evidence leading to the children’s safe return.

The reward offer will remain in effect until June 25. Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 105, quoting the file number 211218/5611, or email op.curly@police.govt.nz. If Phillips is sighted, people are asked to call 111 immediately, as he is considered armed and dangerous.

Police have launched a new phase in the investigation, deploying a team to Marokopa and surrounding areas. They will be visible in the community, seeking credible information about the children’s whereabouts.

Saunders also mentioned ongoing liaison with the family and close collaboration with police. In past incidents, Phillips was linked to the robbery of a Te Kūiti bank and was photographed in disguise at a Hamilton Bunnings store after a stolen ute associated with the case was sighted multiple times in August.

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