7 Oct 2015

Arrest as search for missing boy continues

7:54 pm on 7 October 2015

Police working on the case of missing 10-year-old Alex Fisher say someone has appeared in court, but they will not say if it is in relation to his disappearance.

Alex Fisher

Alex Fisher is thought to be wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt, blue shorts and black shoes. Photo: Supplied

They have released a CCTV photo of Alex and his brother, Eric, in the Waitarere Four Square about 6.15pm on Monday. It is the last known sighting of Alex.

The police have released CCTV footage showing the last confirmed sighting of Alex Fisher - pictured with his brother Eric at the Four Square store in Waitarere at about 6.15pm on Monday.

The last sighting of Alex Fisher Photo: NZ POLICE

Inspector Sarah Stewart said the police wanted to hear from anyone who had seen either Alex or Eric since Alex disappeared.

The police would not confirm other media's reports that an arrest has been made in relation to the case - saying only that someone had appeared in court.

Meanwhile, the search effort has been called off for the night and the police said they would be out again at first light.

Inspector Stewart said despite 48-hours having passed, the focus of the search for Alex had not switched to one of recovery.

"Absolutely not. The nature of the search continues to be finding Alex. We are continuing the search until darkness and then we will stop, because as we have seen today, it's a very difficult searching area in places and our best chance of success is working through the daylight hours."

Inspector Stewart has also asked local residents to check their properties for anything out of the ordinary.

In a statement, Alex's family thanked those involved in the search.

"We would like to thank all those involved in the search for our son, brother and cherished family member.

"We appreciate the efforts and support from friends, family members and the public. At this time we request that our privacy is respected as we gather together at this difficult time."

Missing for nearly 48 hours

The police were alerted to Alex's disappearance at about 4am on Tuesday.

Since then, a large search effort of up to 65 people - including police from around the lower North Island and Air Force personnel - has been using helicopters and tracker dogs to scour hundreds of hectares of dense bush.

The boy's asthma inhaler and pencil case have been found in the southern block of the forest.

Search and Rescue central district co-ordinator Bill Nicholson said the search team would reassess tomorrow whether they needed to go back to where they had been searching, or whether they would move to fresh areas.

The searchers looking for Alex Fisher

Over 50 people are involved in the search for Alex Fisher. Photo: RNZ/Alex Ashton

Ms Stewart said earlier today that there was no evidence to suggest foul play.

She said, while they were concerned for Alex's wellbeing, he was a smart child and was wearing warm clothes.

But she said the discovery of his inhaler was concerning because he needed to have it with him at all times.

It is still unclear why Alex was in the forest in the first place.

The searching looking for missing boy Alex Fisher

The police say the mission is still being treated as search and rescue. Photo: RNZ/Alex Ashton

Alex went missing from the south side of the forest and was last seen wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt, blue shorts and black shoes. He could also have a green/blue puffer jacket and light grey tracksuit pants with him.

Extra police and search teams from Wellington and Whanganui with dog units are being used in the search. A foot search continued through Tuesday night and the helicopter search began again on Wednesday morning using infra-red technology.

Waitarere Forest is a popular destination for mountain bikers and runners. It is located near Waitarere Beach, between the mouths of the Manawatu and Ohau Rivers.

The police are working with Alex's family and are providing support.

The command centre for the search for missing 10-year-old Alex Fisher.

Police have set up a command centre for the search at Waitarere Fire Station. Photo: Radio NZ / Nick Butcher