Closure isn't a word that the Wearn family believe in, but they have found comfort in their faith and the support of the community.

A year has passed since 73-year-old Patricia Wearn, known as Pat, disappeared without a trace from her Caversham Dr home in Torbay, Auckland.

It was 12.30pm on January 16, 2017 when the wife, mother and grandmother set off on her daily walk and never returned.

On Tuesday evening a vigil was held in her memory. Pat's friends and members of the community who helped search for her gathered to share recollections and pay their respects.

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The following night her family placed flowers at the meeting spot, a small gesture of remembrance after the tragic year they have endured.

Andy Wearn was at work when he got a text from his father John to say his mother hadn't returned from her walk and the police had been notified.

Pat had been diagnosed with dementia five years earlier, but had only ever had one episode of wandering off before.

Andy shrugged it off and assumed she would be home within the hour.

A few hours later, Andy was confronted with reality as he drove into the Torbay area and saw a gathering of police cars and officers searching the area.

He recalled driving the streets and approaching dog walkers and runners with a picture of his mother, and searching into the night with only the light of his torch.

"I think one of the hardest things was when it was really dark, it was a couple of hours after sunset, and at that stage it hit me that this was serious and mum was going to have a night out overnight," he said.

"It was difficult then to go home and tuck yourself up in a warm bed. It felt wrong."

Local resident Janine Tilling Joins the group of searchers as they look along the Deep Creek area of Torbay trying to find missing 73-year-old Patricia Wearn. Photo / Chris Loufte
Local resident Janine Tilling Joins the group of searchers as they look along the Deep Creek area of Torbay trying to find missing 73-year-old Patricia Wearn. Photo / Chris Loufte

A week of intensive searching followed, including; Police Search and Rescue and Landsar volunteers, the Police Eagle Helicopter, the Police National Dive Squad and members of the defence force.

Pat's disappearance also garnered huge support from the community, with droves of locals scouring the area in the hope of bringing her home.

As the days went by, Andy said the search for his mother became like a job, with each waking hour dedicated to finding her - but the family never gave up hope.

"When it came to talking about survivability, everyone really did push it to the end. I think each day there was hope and that was really important."

He said the hardest moment came when it was time to call off the search.

"That night was a stormy night and every other night had been a good night.

"That was difficult for us and we didn't sleep a lot because we lay awake listening to the rain and wind against the windows," he said.

"That next week there was an odd sense of the circus leaving town."

Andy has nothing but praise and respect for how the search was handled, but said it was difficult to be left with no clear outcome.

"I think as time has gone by, I am sort of happy that there has never been a physical resolution, but I guess curiosity means that actually perhaps I would like one.

"But I think whatever the story is, it's not going to be happy and it has the potential to open up wounds," he said.

"I don't think there is such a thing as closure. For most people closure is seen as having a funeral, but it doesn't stop you feeling upset and missing people."

He said the family have found solace in their Christian faith, support from the community, and acknowledging the pain of others.

"We realised that there wasn't going to be an end for us, but rather than being inward looking we took some pleasure from the stories we heard from the community, such as how neighbours that hadn't met before had walked side by side or baked for each other.

"Those kind of things are things my mum would have really valued. She would have been really pleased to see the community come together and look after one another."

Torbay residents marked the anniversary of Pat Wearn's disappearance with a vigil on the one year anniversary. Photo / Doug Sherring
Torbay residents marked the anniversary of Pat Wearn's disappearance with a vigil on the one year anniversary. Photo / Doug Sherring

Patricia Wearn

Patricia Wearn was born in Scotland, and was always proud of her Scottish roots.

She trained as a primary school teacher before meeting her husband, John Wearn, when he was a junior doctor in London.

The pair settled in Birmingham in the UK and had two children, Andy and Jenn.

After Andy moved to New Zealand to work as an clinical academic in 2001, Pat and John retired and spent their time living six months of the year in NZ and six months in the UK.

When Pat was diagnosed with dementia in 2011, the couple decided to settle in NZ. They have four grandchildren, two to each of their children.

Andy described his mother as somebody who was very open-hearted and caring.

"She was somebody who was very much without malice so she was always social and kind and very supportive of me and my sister."

He said his mother was a keen gardener and cook, played the piano and loved wildlife, birds.

"Travel was a big thing as well. Certainly as a child, the family holiday of the year was camping in France. She was a really good French speaker.

"She also enjoyed being around people. The family home was rarely ever just us. We often had people to stay, such as overseas students, or people around for dinner."

Pat was also very engaged in voluntary work, particularly through the church, and Christianity was fundamental to her and the family's life.