- Publish Date
- Thursday, 8 October 2015, 7:21AM
Fears are mounting for 10-year-old Alex Fisher, who has been missing in the Waitarere Forest since early on Tuesday morning.
The increasingly desperate hunt for Alex continued until dark last night, and late yesterday police maintained it was still a search and rescue operation. The search will resume today.
So far, though, there have been no sightings of the boy as the southern block of the Waitarere Forest is combed.
Last night, police released footage of Alex with his brother Eric from CCTV images captured at the Waitarere Four Square about 6.15pm on Monday. It was the boy's last confirmed sighting.
It is believed Alex went missing from the Waitarere domain that night and his family reported him missing at 4am.
It is still not known who Alex was with at that time and what he was doing in the area.
His pencil case and inhaler have been found.
Inspector Sarah Stewart issued a public plea for help, asking for anyone who may have seen Alex with his brother on Monday to come forward.
"We're also interested in any sightings of them prior to Monday afternoon," she said.
"As each hour goes by we grow more concerned about Alex."
Yesterday a man, believed to be connected to the disappearance, appeared in the Levin District Court, charged with illegally possessing a knife in a public place - Forest Rd, Waitarere, on Monday night.
Forest Rd is where the search for Alex is centred.
The man was given name suppression and will stay in custody until next week. The court heard he was likely to face at least one further, unspecified charge.
Later in the day, Alex's family released a statement thanking rescuers for searching for their "son, brother and cherished family member".
"We appreciate the efforts and support from friends, family members and the public," Alex's family said. "We request that our privacy is respected at this difficult time."
Up to 65 rescuers searched the forest for any sign yesterday.
As well as the inhaler and pencil case, police were looking at other items found to see if they were of any relevance to the case.
The overnight suspension of the search was because it was impractical to look through the area at night-time, police said, although 50 rescuers remained actively hunting for Alex overnight on Tuesday.
The search has involved police sniffer dogs, and police and air force helicopters.
Thermal imaging technology has also been brought in.
Incident controller Sergeant Bill Nicholson said yesterday afternoon about 80 per cent of the forest block had been combed and the items belonging to Alex were found close together.
Once the block had been completely searched, police would assess where to go next.