Adult sisters of missing Marokopa children launch petition asking authorities to do more to find them
The adult half-sisters of the Waikato children who were taken into the bush by their father five months ago are pleading with the authorities to do more to find them as winter approaches.
Tom Phillips took his children, Jayda Jin, Maverick and Ember – all under the age of 10 – to the bush near his family farm on the remote coast of Marokopa in December. Other than a trip back to the farm in February to pick up supplies, they have not been seen.
A warrant has been issued for Phillips’ arrest after he failed to appear in court for wasting police resources, linked to the huge search that was launched the first time he and the children disappeared in September.
The children’s adult half-sisters, who asked that their names be withheld, have started a petition calling on the police, Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Education and the Family Court to do more to find the children.
* Marokopa’s father, Thomas Phillips, failed to appear in court for wasting police time
* Marokopa family returns to bush, no search initiated by police
* Marokopa’s missing father not worried about police charges, says his brother
More than 1,000 people have signed the online petition at change.org.
A statement with the older sister’s petition reads: “I can understand the reluctance to launch a search party like the one in September 2021, but… it’s been an extremely long time with no guarantees if they are safe and sound. , or any idea where they are.
“We’ve gone from one extreme to the other – a high profile search, reported daily, to a multiple missing person case that people don’t know about.
“These children deserve better from those enlisted to protect and serve them, which is why I have decided to start this petition in hopes of gaining the support they deserve.”
West Waikato Area Commander Inspector William Loughrin said it was unfair to suggest the police were not doing enough to locate the family.
Police continued to investigate, including continued contact with Phillips’ family and the local community.
“We have staff solely focused on this case, and we are very aware of the amount of time that has passed since Tom and his three children were last seen,” Loughrin said.
He said police believe people “who know Tom” have “vital information” that could help police.
“This is incredibly frustrating for police, and we strongly urge those with information to share these details with us as soon as possible.”
The younger of the two half-sisters, who is 20, said she and her mother had gone to Marokopa to look for signs of the family. Phillips was thought to only have a 50cc motorbike to get around – they hoped it could have been left in the bush near a road.
“We’ve been out a few times at the weekend, but there’s a lot of bush – it’s not very effective. His [Phillips’] The family refused to let mum into the family farm to access the bush there.
She said Phillips had been portrayed as a skilled bushman, but she thought that had been exaggerated.
“I lived with him for at least eight years, and he never went into the bush once.”
The sister said that when she saw the children immediately after they returned the first time they disappeared, they were playing on tablets.
“I really don’t think they’re having a good time. They would have had enough after a week – they had had enough the last time.
She said a police officer told her they were “waiting for Thomas to choose to join civilization himself.”
“It’s good enough if it was just a man with a warrant for his arrest, but it’s three kids.
“They don’t get an education, they don’t have access to health care – hot showers and all the other comforts a normal home can provide.”
She said her mother was spending sleepless nights, worried her children would be cold and dirty in the bush as winter approached.
“And where are the police, the people in charge of finding my brothers and sisters and bringing them home?
“I want people to know what’s going on, and I want people to care.”
Police said anyone with information that could help find Tom Phillips should call 105 and quote case number 211218/5611.