Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Inquest into case of missing man Kerry Blair to resume in August

Kerry Blair with his three children, Rochelle, Dylan and Cherise. Photo / Supplied
Kerry Blair with his three children, Rochelle, Dylan and Cherise. Photo / Supplied

An inquest into the case of missing Marlborough yachtie Kerry Blair will resume later this year.

Experienced seaman Mr Blair, 55, took his boat from a remote bay in the Marlborough Sounds, which cannot be named for legal reasons, to get some dinner on March 8, 2014 and has never been seen again.

The 9-metre craft was found drifting 200kms off Taranaki nine days later but Mr Blair was not on board and his body has never been found.

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Whatever happened to Kerry Blair?

An inquest before Coroner Marcus Elliott began in Christchurch in November.

The inquest is exploring four possible scenarios which could explain Mr Blair's disappearance - suicide, accident, foul play, or staged disappearance.

It has now been confirmed that the inquest will resume on August 1 for a fortnight.

Mr Blair's three children, Dylan Blair, Rochelle Foster and Cherise Blair have raised concerns over the initial police response to the missing persons case.

Frustrated in the belief that police were spending more time investigating Mr Blair's background and character than the seas and inlets, the family funded their own aerial search.

Rochelle told the inquest that she felt the police attitude at first was, "He's done a runner", and then when the boat was found, "Dad's committed suicide, let's work back from that and prove he has".

Police deny many of the family's claims.

They say they approached the "enormous" missing persons operation with a practical clarity that emotional and distraught family members could not.

Police say there were no indications of foul play for them to investigate at the time, though they "kept an open mind".

During the inquest, family members speculated that three people, whose identity cannot be reported due to legal reasons, could have been involved in Kerry Blair's disappearance.

- NZ Herald

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