Missing Wellington girl safe, upset

By Paul Harper

A nine-year-old girl who went missing in the Wellington suburb of Wainuiomata yesterday has been found safe and well after spending a night outside.

Veetia Rose Vaculik-Hamilton was found at the end of Mohaka Street in Wainuiomata about 11.40am.

"Police and the family of Veetia are extremely relieved to have found her safe and well a short time ago. She is upset, cold and tired after spending a night outside," Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Borrell said.

Fears for missing girl

Earlier her family said they were "shell-shocked" by her disappaearance, and just wanted her home.

Veetia had last been seen about 2pm yesterday, walking into Arakura School in Wainuiomata by herself.

Her father, George Vaculik-Hamilton, said his daughter had gone to the school, about 300m from the family home, to play.

He said his daughter was an "outgoing, normal nine-year-old girl".

"We're shell-shocked," he said. "My wife has been awake all night."

Her family had become suspicious when she did not return for home for dinner last night.

Mr Vaculik-Hamilton called her friends' parents to see if she was at their homes, before calling the police.

"We rang the police at around 6.30 when it was getting dark and she hadn't reappeared. Before then I went out looking for her, because it wasn't like her to be more than an hour.

"When it started getting dark I started getting very alarmed so I rang the police. They came around a little bit later and searched. We also had the fire department out with the thermal imaging equipment looking for her.

"Where we live there is quite a bit of bush around us. We live in Wainui and we're sort of at the bottom of the ridge that separates Wainui from Lower Hutt. Her school backs up to that [bush] as well."

He also called the bus company last night with a description of his daughter in the hope someone may have seen her.

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