Cheryl Rush has all but lost hope that her cousin, 45-year-old Kaitaia woman Theres'a Urlich, will be found alive after more than two months since she was last seen.
According to police, Urlich, who lives in Kaitaia, was last seen hitching south from Awanui on February 4, but Rush said she had arrived at her home in Kaeo that day.
She had a shower, changed her clothes, had something to eat and left, heading south. That was the last her family saw or heard of her.
It was not like her not to keep in regular contact, she added, and she lived on her benefit week by week, so failing to draw money from her bank account would be a very bad sign.
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"I think she's dead," Mrs Rush said. "I think she got into the wrong car."
She had been told that a woman's body had been found in the Ahipara gumfields, but doubted that was true. The police confirmed there had been no such find.
Acting Senior Sergeant Sarah Wihongi said last month that police had completed the usual missing person checks, looked for Urlich in and around Kaitaia, and called for sightings via the Northland Police Facebook page.
That had sparked plenty of concerns about her welfare, but produced no concrete information.
"She's a friendly soul and quite distinctive, so she's well known around Kaitaia," she said.
Police have described her as wearing a bright yellow jacket and black three-quarter-length pants when she was last seen.
Anyone who has any information is urged to contact acting Sergeant Elton Braithwaite at the Kaitaia police station, phone (09) 408 6500.