Tips flow in police hunt for Ranui child abductor

Police and security at the Ranui train station. Photo / NZ Herald
Police and security at the Ranui train station. Photo / NZ Herald

Police hunting the man who abducted and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old boy in West Auckland on Thursday evening have received more than 40 tips from the public.

Detective Senior Sergeant Jason McIntosh, who is leading a large team of investigators, this afternoon said the welfare of the child was "paramount in this investigation".

"Due to the traumatic nature of this event, specialist interviewers have only had a brief conversation with the victim."

They would ascertain when it was appropriate to speak to him again, he said.

The schoolboy had just got off a train at the Ranui Station shortly before 4pm Thursday when he was approached by a stranger in a van as he walked towards Ranui Station Rd.

The stranger asked him for directions before the child was pulled into the vehicle and taken to an unknown location, where he endured a four-hour ordeal.

He was dropped off about 8pm.

McIntosh today said the investigation was fully resourced and progressing with support from detectives, child protection teams, and detectives from the child protection team register.

Police had also received more than 40 calls with information - 15 of them to the anonymous Crimestoppers tip line.

But the attacker - who has been described only as a man in a grey van - was still being hunted.

"In particular, we're asking if anyone saw the boy, the van and anyone acting suspiciously in the vicinity of Metcalf Rd and Swanson Rd at about 4.15pm," McIntosh said.

"We are also appealing for anyone with private CCTV or smart phone footage from Thursday afternoon to contact police."

There would be a police presence in the area before and after school tomorrow.

Ranui Primary School, Summerland Primary School, Henderson Primary School and Henderson Intermediate School are among schools who have issued warnings to parents and students.

Ranui Primary posted a message to its local community via the school's Facebook page, saying: "As you may be aware, there was an incident involving an 11-year-old West Auckland School student . . . in the Ranui area."

The school asked parents to remind their children of key messages about being safe, including: "If a driver stops and asks you for directions, be polite but stay out of reach. If you don't know them or trust them, walk away quickly in the opposite direction."

Students were told not to accept a lift from a stranger, to scream or yell for help if necessary and to go to the nearest place where there are other people - such as a dairy, a petrol station, school office or bus stop - if they felt unsafe.

Can you help? Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Senior Sergeant Jason McIntosh on: 021 191 2659 or Crimestoppers anonymous on: 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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