December 8, 2023

Missing man Tom Phillips and Jayda, Maverick, and Ember; Public report seeing Phillips with and without his children 14 times last month

Tom Phillips and his three children Jayda, Maverick and Ember were reported missing from Marokopa by family on January 18, 2022.

Members of the public made 14 reported sightings of on-the-run man Tom Phillips with and without his children last month, police say.

“Unfortunately, none of these reported sightings of Tom Phillips or the three children have been positive,” Detective Inspector Andrew Saunders said.

Phillips and his children Jayda, Maverick, and Ember have been missing since December 2021.

The Marokopa man was also charged aggravated robbery, aggravated wounding and unlawfully possessing a firearm after an armed heist of ANZ Te Kūiti on Rora St last month.

A supermarket worker was also shot at during the incident.

Detective Inspector Saunders said police “continue to thank our community who have come forward with information and ask them to continue to do so if they think they have sighted Tom, Jayda, Maverick or Ember.

“Work is ongoing in efforts to locate them and this includes continuing to carry out area inquiries.”

Phillips and his children first went missing in September 2021, sparking a massive ground, sea and air search with family at home fearing the worst as the father’s grey Toyota Hilux was found on the beach, with waves crashing against it.

They returned home after 17 days with police later charging Phillips with wasteful deployment of police resources.

But Phillips didn’t show up at the Te Kuiti District Court for his first appearance on January 12, 2022. A warrant was then issued for his arrest.

Members of the public believed he had gone to live in remote bushland with his children.

Police had no confirmed sightings of Phillips until August when a member of their public reported their ute had been stolen.

The ute was identical to that which police had released images of when they revealed Phillips had been seen at three different locations across Waikato in the same month.

Then in September police accused Phillips of committing the bank robbery at ANZ Te Kūiti.

Detective Inspector Saunders urged anyone supporting Tom Phillips to “think about his children” after the fugitive Marokopa dad was accused of a bank robbery in Te Kūiti in May.

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