A prisoner who fled his brother's funeral while on compassionate leave and escaped with his partner has a terminally ill child who the couple have "abandoned" in hospital.
Lusitino Selesele, 41, is an inmate at Springhill Corrections Facility and was granted leave to attend his brother's funeral in West Auckland last Thursday.
The Herald can reveal that Selesele was a pallbearer at the funeral, and as soon as his brother's coffin was lowered into the ground the inmate sprinted off, jumped a fence and got into a car.
Police believe the driver of the car was Selesele's partner Jacinta Sale, who had been waiting for him.
Sale is also wanted on two arrest warrants and is facing charges of driving while disqualified.
The pair took off and have not been seen since.
A source said the pair are parents to a terminally ill child who is being treated in hospital.
"They've just left the child there," the source said.
"They've taken off... pretty much abandoned the child."
They have made no contact with the hospital since Selesele's brazen escape.
Detective Senior Sergeant Roger Small said the hunt for Selesele and Sale continued.
He could not comment on the specifics of the efforts to find them.
"Both Lusitino and Jacinta are believed to be using a white Holden Combo van, registration CYN814 and it's believed they are in the Waitakere area," Small said.
Selesele is described as a Pacific Island man, 1.82m, with a large build.
Sale is around 1.78m and of medium build.
A spokeswoman for the hospital where the child is being treated declined to comment.
Can you help?
If you can help police find the wanted pair, contact Detective Sergeant Ash Matthews (09) 837 9511.