Police are treating the case of a nine-year-old boy found bloodied and distressed on a rural Canterbury bridge as a suspected abduction.

The boy was found on Thursday afternoon on Holme Station Bridge, about 15 km west of Timaru.

It remains a mystery as to how the boy got from from his Oceanview Heights school to the bridge, and what happened to him, as he is yet to utter a word about his ordeal.

"Unless we get further information to steer us in another direction, we have little choice but to treat it as an abduction," Detective Sergeant Dylan Murray told Radio New Zealand.


Searches of the bridge where he was found were carried out over the weekend. Officers interviewed teachers and family members to get an idea of the boy's movements and possibly find out what happened to him, said Detective Sergeant Murray.

The boy, described as having a dark complexion, of slim build, about 30kg with dark hair and closer in size to a six- or seven-year-old, was last seen at 3.15pm on the corner of Luxmoore Rd and Selwyn St.

He was found at the bridge 45 minutes later.

Police would not disclose the extent of his injuries, but said the boy "had certainly suffered some trauma", including injuries to his face and is understood to have significant amount of blood on his school uniform.

He remained at Timaru Hospital, in a comfortable condition, but he hadn't spoken to family or police about what happened.

On Thursday he was wearing dark blue polarfleece, dark blue shorts, a teal polo shirt and multicoloured backpack.

Police are appealing anyone with information to contact Timaru police.