When Allen Inoke dropped off a loan car at a Hamilton car yard yesterday he had no idea of the heart-wrenching panic his simple act was about to bring on his family.

Unbeknown to him, his 5-year-old daughter, Glory, was in the back of the car he had borrowed from Kiwi New Cars in Frankton while his own car was being repaired.

About 5.30pm he returned the loan car and drove home in his own car, shortly afterwards taking one of his older daughters to volleyball practice.

He thought Glory was with her mother, Adi, who thought Glory was with her father. It wasn't until 9pm that they realised their youngest child had vanished and police were called.

Advertisement
Glory Inoke gets a big hug from big brother Kenny.
Glory Inoke gets a big hug from big brother Kenny.

A neighbour reported seeing little Glory walking towards Holland Rd about 6.30pm so family, friends and police spent the night scouring the streets around the family's home in the Hamilton suburb of Fairfield.

A member of the public walking past the yard, on Greenwood St, Frankton, saw the little girl this morning and called the police.

Allen Inoke said he had no idea his daughter was in the car when he dropped it off and didn't think that she would be in there when the search was going on.

He said the car yard staff had locked the vehicle but she'd managed to open it from the inside and was walking around the yard when a member of the public spotted her and called police.

He thanked everyone who helped in the search.

Adi Inoke said Glory's disappearance was "just an accident" and they were extremely glad to finally have her home.

"We have been to the doctors and she has been examined and she's all good. We have been asking her all sorts of questions and she said nothing happened for her, she was the only one alone in the car.

"She said that she was just sleeping in the car the whole night."

Adi Inoke said she could tell her daughter was unhappy when they were reunited this morning as she had "swollen eyes".

"I knew she had been crying."

"We were really busy the whole day and then she was probably tired. Her dad is overwhelmed."

Adi Inoke is hugged by a friend when she learns her daughter is safe. Photo / Belinda Feek
Adi Inoke is hugged by a friend when she learns her daughter is safe. Photo / Belinda Feek

Before Glory was found, Adi Inoke told the Herald she feared her daughter's disappearance was suspicious.

"I think it's suspicious because this area, we don't trust people around this Fairfield area ... we see new faces go up and down this road and Holland Rd."

She said it was strange for her child to disappear as she never usually left the house. If she did, she would go to the neighbours'.

Adi Inoke broke down in tears as she described not being able to sleep knowing her daughter was outside, somewhere foreign and alone.

"I couldn't even close my eyes because I had been thinking of my daughter. She is my youngest, she is my baby. I would just be so glad if she comes back home safely."

Glory is the youngest of six children, the oldest is 16.

Police have thanked searchers who helped look for Glory.

"She was discovered outside by a member of the public who was not looking for her, but who stopped to help her anyway. Champion," Waikato police wrote on their Facebook page.

Asked whether charges could be laid in relation the incident, police said: "Each situation is different and it would be inappropriate to speculate before we have determined the full circumstances."