20 Nov 2012

New information in suspected child abduction case

1:29 pm on 20 November 2012

Timaru police say new information has come to light that could help piece together what happened to a young boy they suspect was abducted last week.

The nine-year-old was found distressed and hurt on a bridge last Thursday and remains in Timaru Hospital in a stable condition with superficial facial injuries, police say.

The boy, a pupil at Ocean View Heights Primary School, left there at 3pm on foot and was found about 90 minutes later at Holme Station Bridge 15km away.

Inspector Dave Gaskin, the officer in charge of the investigation, says police spoke with the boy for the first time on Monday, but could not get much information out of him.

However, Mr Gaskin told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that something new has come forward that they will follow up over coming days.

Mr Gaskin says police are not ruling out the possibility that the boy was sexually abused.

He would not say whether the new information is related to reports that a neighbour had seen a man taking photos of children at the school on Thursday.

Mr Gaskin says it is one of the most bizarre cases he has worked on and the fact the boy was left at the bridge is particularly unusual.

"This is bizarre in some ways. I have no recollection of ever hearing of anyone absconding or taking a child to or from school, or even any previous attempts to do so. Having the young man taken out to a place like Home Station Bridge and left there is particularly strange."

Mr Gaskin says officers are working through a large amount of information and hope to have more by the end of the day. They will be going door-to-door near the school where the boy was last seen and will interview a woman who believes she saw suspicious activity.

Police are continuing to appeal to the public for any information or sightings of the boy outside the school and near the bridge. Mr Gaskin says although police have no leads regarding the suspected abductor, he is confident they will resolve the case.