Family of missing woman Theres'a Urlich are full of questions and anxiety after more than two months has passed since the Kaitaia woman disappeared without a trace.

Urlich, 45, has not been seen since February 4 and her family are growing increasingly concerned for her safety.

Two of Urlich's cousins spoke to the Herald and expressed their dismay at the lack of information and accountability surrounding her missing person's case.

Vervies Barnes said family found out Urlich was missing after a phone call from a mental health facility that had been providing services to her cousin.


Urlich had been supported by Te Mana Oranga Trust, a facility in Kaitaia which provides adult community support services for mental health and addiction.

Barnes said her cousin had suffered from mental health issues for a number of years, and was on medication.

She said Urlich was among patients at Te Mana Oranga who struggled to look after themselves, which made Barnes extremely worried about Urlich's ability to survive for two months unaided.

"It is coming up to 10 weeks since she went missing, so I am guessing she hasn't had any of her medication. I am not sure if she will be able to fend for herself."

Barnes said it was time someone was held accountable and police stepped up their search.

"My fears for her safety and well-being started to kick in early on but I have tried to remain positive," Barnes said.

"But the police have told us diddly squat. They have basically just said she is missing, but why are they not out there finding her?

"It is like 'oh yea, no biggy, Theres'a is gone'. My questions are, what part have you played to find her and what have you done to insure her safety?"

Kaitaia woman Theres'a Urlich who hasn't been seen since February 4. Photo / Supplied
Kaitaia woman Theres'a Urlich who hasn't been seen since February 4. Photo / Supplied

Barnes said Urlich had disappeared in the past, but this incident was far more concerning as she hadn't accessed her bank account.

"It is a bit scary that she has not touched any money since the end of January," she said.

"And no one has seen her around Kaitaia, but everyone knows who she is."

Barnes said Urlich has always been free spirited, hitchhiked a lot, and has lived a transient life.

"She is non-judgmental and puts a lot of faith in other people which makes her quite vulnerable. But she is still well-grounded too and knows her whakapapa and where she is from."

Urlich was not close with family, but would call in on different members now and then. She also has an adult son that she normally keeps in contact with.

Barnes said despite family not having heard from her, she didn't feel like Urlich was gone.

Urlich's other cousin, Cheryl Rush, was much less hopeful and has all but lost hope that her cousin will be found alive.

According to police Urlich 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 to not keep in regular contact, Rush 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.

"I think she's dead," Rush said. "I think she got into the wrong car."

Ian McKenzie from the Northland DHB said Urlich was living in a rental property and receiving community support from Te Mana Oranga.

As general manager of mental health and addiction services, he said the DHB was notified by Te Mana Oranga that Urlich was not at home on February 5.

Urlich then missed a pre-arranged appointment on February 7 and subsequently a missing person's report was filed with police on February 8.

He said Te Mana Oranga have a number of service contracts with Northland DHB including residential rehabilitation, community support work and day programmes, but people who use these services are not restricted in their movements.

"Te Mana Oranga keeps in regular contact with the clinical teams in Kaitaia including situations where unexpected changes occur - such as situations where a person does not attend routine appointments.

"When services in the far north are concerned about a person's whereabouts we initiate our protocols with the NZ Police. These were utilised in this situation," he said.

"We actively liaise with whānau in situations where a person has not been engaging with services and confirm that in the days following Theres'a's non-attendance at a routine appointment we made contact with whānau."

McKenzie said the DHB and Te Mana Oranga were still actively helping to locate Urlich and any help or information the public can provide would be extremely helpful.

Detective Sergeant Mark Dalzell of Northland Police confirmed that police took a missing person's report from Health Services in relation to Theres'a Urlich on February 8.

He said police were very concerned for Urlich's well-being and have made a number of efforts in an attempt to locate her.

"Police have spoken to family members and to health services. The focus of the inquiry has been a public appeal using both mainstream, local and social media.

"We have had members of the public come forward and the information provided has been followed up but unfortunately it has not led us to Theres'a," he said.

"Given we have no real starting point for where she may be, no physical search of a specific area has been conducted.

"We have also made inquiries around her bank account as well as getting the assistance of our partner agencies to circulate information throughout some of Auckland's drop in centres."

Dalzell said every missing person's case was treated seriously.

"The Far North is a tight-knit community and many of our officers know Theres'a and are deeply concerned for her welfare.

"We continue to urge anyone with information to come forward."

Anyone with information can contact Acting Sergeant Elton Braithwaite on 09 405 6500.