20 Feb 2013

Correct policy not followed to find boy, inquest told

7:08 pm on 20 February 2013

Police did not follow correct policy to try to find a 13-year-old who ran away from Child, Youth and Family's care shortly before he died, an inquest has been told.

A hearing is underway into the death of Isaiah Nathan, who was killed when he crashed a stolen car in the South Auckland suburb of Manurewa in December 2010.

The boy ran away from his Child, Youth and Family caregivers who lived near Kaitaia in September 2010 and was then reported missing.

Detective Sergeant Linda Simpson is in charge of the missing persons unit and told the court her staff were not persistent enough in following up on a report into the boy.

Ms Simpson told the Auckland District Court on Wednesday her staff tried to contact Kaitaia police four times to check on the report but did not get a response.

She said the last time Kaitaia police were contacted to follow up on Isaiah Nathan's location was seven days before he died.

The inquest was told social workers didn't follow best practice after the boy ran away.

Lee Robinson, a youth justice manager for Child, Youth and Family, told the court on Wednesday it was disappointing that there was no recorded communication between social workers and police about finding the boy.

Ms Robinson said there are guidelines, but no specific policy for the agency to follow, when a child runs away.

A police officer from Counties Manukau told the inquest this week that if police had known the boy was missing, they would have tried to him before the fatal crash.