Kiwi model Sophia Nash admits she has left the country with her two children but denies stealing a $20 Christian Dior bag from the Salvation Army.
Police were last night still searching for Nash, who her estranged husband revealed yesterday had taken their two young daughters overseas.
Nash - who recently came clean about her high-profile battle with alcoholism - had an arrest warrant issued after failing to appear in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday on charges of theft, driving while disqualified and breaching a community-work order.
Yesterday it emerged she had left the country. Her estranged husband, DJ Thane Kirby, posted on social media: "Put quite simply this is a really hard time for me and my family right now. My ex-wife has left the country and has taken our children with her.
"I'm devastated but kinda powerless to do anything other than put this matter in the hands of my lawyer, police and Cyfs. I want to thank those close to me for their support it really means a lot.
"I'm just wishing for my girls to come home as quickly as possible so we can put this terrible period behind us once and for all."
Kirby removed the post last night after an outpouring of support from friends.
Nash admitted she had headed overseas but denied it was because of the charges she is facing.
"The reason I've left the country has got nothing to do with the court case," she told Fairfax.
Allegations she had stolen a pink and yellow Christian Dior worth $20 from a Salvation Army store were incorrect and she would be approaching the New Zealand courts to resolve the charges, she said.
She planned to start a new life with her daughters Honey and Lola and was making arrangements for Honey to start school. The trio were having "a wee holiday" before then, she said.
According to Ms Nash, her husband George FM DJ Thane Kirby was aware of her plans to leave the country.
"Once I said I wasn't going to stay with him, he said he wasn't coming."
Customs told the Herald on Sunday the situation was a police matter and they would execute a border alert on Nash's passport if necessary.
Police would not answer questions while the investigation continues, including whether they had been in touch with Customs.
Auckland defence lawyer Steve Bonnar said police wouldn't usually put a border alert on a passport if the person was facing minor charges, such as theft and driving while disqualified. However, once a warrant for an arrest is issued by the court, an alert automatically goes on travel documents.
Bonnar said police could issue a border alert before a warrant is issued if someone is facing more serious charges and they suspect the person might try to flee the country.
It is alleged that on February 24, Nash, 27, stole a $20 pink and yellow Christian Dior handbag from the Salvation Army store in Mt Eden. Police allege she was then caught driving on Dominion Rd while disqualified. An arrest warrant was issued for her after she didn't show up at court.
I'm devastated but kinda powerless to do anything other than put this matter in the hands of my lawyer, police and Cyfs.
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A friend of Nash, who didn't want to be named, said her phone was switched off and they were concerned about her.
Nash was a fixture on the city's party scene after being discovered by modelling scouts as a teenager.
She came forward recently to tell how her addiction nearly killed her.
Nash told NZME a month ago that she had been sober for six months and was devoted to her two daughters, aged 4 and 5.
Less than two years ago, the former gossip columnist nearly lost everything, she told Newstalk ZB's The Nutters Club.
"Once I found out I was an alcoholic, I just went full on. It actually for some reason made me flare up even more. I think it was just the pain of understanding this was the end of the life that I knew ... I knew everything was going to change," Nash said.
"I had one Midori and Baileys shot and that sort of kicked me off. I'd had some benzos [benzodiazepines] that I'd been prescribed and I tripped over and hit my head on a rock."
When she was in an induced coma, a friend took a photo of her, put it on Facebook and warned others not to let her near any booze.
Nash told NZME it was a long journey to self-acceptance.
"The compassion came from just going: 'I don't have to be everything to everyone. I need to be looking after myself and those two beautiful children'."
If found guilty on the theft charge, Nash could be jailed for three months, while the driving allegations could draw a prison sentence of up to two years.