Missing mum silent after two weeks away

By Morgan Tait


Police believe threats made against missing Hastings woman Leeanna Hodgetts, 39, may be keeping her from returning to Hawke's Bay and reporting to police.

The woman went missing two weeks ago in the company of 14-year-old high school student Sarah Peka.

There were possible sightings of Sarah and Ms Hodgetts, a mother-of-two, in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland regions but they did not make contact with concerned friends, family and police until Sarah turned up at a Havelock North retirement village on Monday.

The connection between the pair was still unconfirmed but they were friends on Facebook.

Hastings Police Detective Sergeant Craig Vining said the girl was "as well as could be" and was hoping an interview with her yesterday would reveal the mysterious details around her disappearance and the whereabouts of Ms Hodgetts.

"We are hoping she will be able to tell us about the last few weeks and what has taken place, and hopefully we can just get some more information.

"We are still looking for [Ms Hodgetts]. She is obviously aware we are looking for her and hasn't been making any huge attempt to come home and see us."

Mr Vining said there was a "bit of anger" towards Ms Hodgetts on social media websites, which may be preventing her reappearance.

One post on Facebook said: "Well done. So good to hear you are home Sarah Peka. Oh so relieved that nothing serious came across the news. Now as for that woman Leeanna, well now hope the police get a hold of this woman and put a light on the ordeal that had occurred!"

Mr Vining said the Year 10 Hastings Girls' High School student was emotionally shaken but was not in danger during the fortnight away.

"I wouldn't say danger was the right word. It is more a matter of whether her mental and physical condition were impaired by the situation.

"She's 14, so the circumstance of being away from her family could have impaired that."

He said the two-week search used a significant amount of police resources across the North Island.

"We have had to utilise staff around the country to make enquiries on our behalf which has made it more labour intensive than perhaps it should have been."

Ms Hodgetts is described as European, who regularly wears darkened prescription glasses and a beanie, has short hair, is short and of thickset build.

She may be travelling in a dark blue Toyota Corona sedan, registration YK3034.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Leeanna Hodgetts should contact their local police station or the Hastings Police Child Protection Team on (06) 873 0500.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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