Police renew plea for information on the safety of LA Tukerangi

  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Police and the family of LA Tukerangi are still desperately trying to locate her and confirm she is safe.

Police have issued a statement saying they are still trying to locate the 15-year-old who is believed to be with 36-year-old Dean Wayne Whakatau.

They say from what they have gathered through enquiries and social media commentary, that it seems LA Tukerangi and Dean Whakatau have been together for around two weeks after leaving a property in Auckland.

Detective Senior Sergeant Zane Smith says, "At this point in time there is just one focus and that is to speak to LA and make sure that she is safe.”

He goes on to say, “Speculation on social media as to whether she is with Dean Whakatau willingly or not is unhelpful; we won't know the answer to that question until we speak to her directly. The fact remains that LA is only 15, her family desperately want her home and Police need to make sure she is safe and back with her family as soon as possible.”

Police have urged LA to make contact with her family and have urged Whakatau to drop her outside a police station or in a public area where she can be collected.

It is believed that the pair were in the Rotorua CBD area on Sunday morning and may have also spent time in the Taupō area in the last couple of weeks.

Members of the public have been asked not to try and approach them as this may cause them to flee and have asked for anyone with any information to contact them immediately. 

Manukau Urban Māori Authority (MUMA) have released a statement saying they will now be handling enquiries regarding the disappearance of Tukerangi. MUMA will also be providing support for the Tukerangi whānau through Whānau Ora Services.