Search for Waihi bush­man who van­ished from farm

Hauraki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PHILLIPA YALDEN

Grant Ri­d­ley is a ca­pa­ble bush­man.

But his dis­ap­pear­ance from the farm bor­der­ing the Waihi coast­line where he was liv­ing and work­ing for the last few months is out of char­ac­ter, say fam­ily and po­lice.

A large search is un­der­way for the 46-year-old lo­cal who has not been seen or heard from since Saturday.

His car re­mains parked next to the pad­docks. All of his pos­ses­sions re­main there too.

In four days he has made no con­tact with his par­ents in Thames, or ac­cessed any bank ac­counts.

On Tuesday po­lice ap­pealed for sight­ings or in­for­ma­tion on Ri­d­ley.

He is 170cm tall and has brown hair styled into a mul­let hair­cut.

Waikato po­lice Search and Res­cue Sergeant Vince Ranger said Ri­d­ley had been liv­ing and work­ing on a large farm in the val­ley off Landlyst Rd - about half way between in­land Waihi and Whir­i­toa.

On Saturday another res­i­dent on the farm no­ticed Ri­d­ley was miss­ing and called the po­lice, he said.

‘‘We are con­cerned as to where he is. It’s not a nor­mal thing for him to do, just go miss­ing like that.

‘‘He is quite a con­fi­dent man in the bush but he wouldn’t nor­mally just up and go.

‘‘There has been no con­tact by him with any­body since Saturday that we are aware of.’’

Po­lice were not aware that Ri­d­ley had taken any be­long­ings with him, Ranger said. There had been no re­ports of Ri­d­ley mak­ing con­tact with any­one.

A fixed wing aero­plane had scoured the coast­line from Waihi beach past the Orokawa Re­serve up to Whir­i­toa.

Ranger said the farm was sur­rounded by bush­land and other farms, mak­ing for a sig­nif­i­cant dense and prickly search area.

‘‘We are in­tend­ing to search along the shore­line, and spread out through the bush area ad­ja­cent to the farm block.

‘‘It’s very thick black­berry, and pine bush in ar­eas with scrub, and it’s steep. Pretty hard stuff to get through, and makes it very slow to search.’’

Eight search teams had been out comb­ing the area.

‘‘The plan is to stay in that area un­til some­thing comes of our searches or other in­for­ma­tion comes in.’’

His mother, Ann Ri­d­ley, said it was out of char­ac­ter for her son to dis­ap­pear.

‘‘He’s a bush­man so he might have just de­cided he didn’t want to be a bush­man any­more.’’

She last saw her son on his birth­day on Septem­ber 24.

For the last few months he had been work­ing and liv­ing on the farm near Waihi. She had heard from him in­ter­mit­tently.

Any­one who has seen him or may have in­for­ma­tion that can help po­lice find Ri­d­ley is be­ing urged to con­tact Waihi Po­lice on (07) 863 8179.

In­for­ma­tion can also be left anony­mously via Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111.

NZ PO­LICE

Grant Ri­d­ley has been miss­ing since Saturday.

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