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Auckland man tells of search for daughter

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/03/2017

When the father of a teenage girl confronted the man he believed was holding her, a weapon was produced and it appeared those involved wouldn't be frightened of using it, a court has been told.

The Auckland father was testifying in the Rotorua District Court in the trial of a 38-year-old man charged with abduction, sexual connection and burglary.

The man's alleged offending sparked a manhunt across the eastern and central North Island culminating near Te Kaha on August 6, 2015.

The father said that, when heard his 15-year-old daughter had been spotted in Rotorua, he went with friends and relatives to search for her.

During a door-knocking exercise, he was directed to a house where they possibly were.

The person who came to the door claimed he didn't know the man or the girl.

When a second man came out, the father realised it was his suspect, identifying him from an internet picture.

The father told him he was looking for his daughter, but the man replied that he hadn't heard of that name.

"I said what about this fella [the defendant]," the witness said.

"He looked a little bit surprised and said 'I don't know him' but shortly after said he might know where my daughter was."

The man then appeared to use his cell phone, a car pulled up and someone hopped out.

"They didn't look too afraid of us," the witness said.

"They looked like they had a weapon and were going to do something with it. I said I wanted to see my daughter was okay."

The man said he would bring her to him in an hour, "but I knew they wouldn't come back with her".

Frustrated, he left.

Questioned by defence lawyer Bill Nabney, the witness agreed his suspect had invited him to check the house but he had declined because at that point he thought this was normal for someone telling the truth.

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