The week-long search for missing toddler Emily Saunders has been called off.

Police this evening announced they would no longer search for the body of the 2-year-old girl, who was swept away down the Poerua River last Thursday when the 4WD she was in with family was swamped.

Searchers found the body of 66-year-old Barry Petrie, who tried to save Emily, on Friday afternoon. But there has been no sign of Emily despite a huge search effort that was at times hampered by bad weather.

"Sadly we must now end our search phase," West Coast area commander Inspector Mel Aitken said.


"We've exhausted all avenues, with an extensive search of the area where Emily was last seen.

"I want to thank the many volunteers, including search and rescue and the wider West Coast Community who have shown their generosity and support to the family through this terrible tragedy."

In a statement, Emily's parents Sandra and Michael Saunders thanked all those involved in the search.

"We would also like to express our gratitude to our community, the numerous groups and organisations that have helped our family in many ways during this time.

"We would like to especially thank Victim Support who worked with the Lions and other groups who have made it possible for family to come, so we can be together during this difficult time."

Police will continue to offer their full support to Emily's family.