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Search for Upper Hutt woman suspended

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/07/2016

Police have suspended the search for Upper Hutt woman Mary Berrington, saying they'll continue the case as a missing person investigation.

Police have grave concerns for the 62-year-old who they say suffers from a degree of mental impairment and has not been seen since attending a church function on Tuesday night.

She was reported missing on Wednesday.

"A large number of people have worked tirelessly over the last four days to try and find Mary and bring her home to her family," says Detective David Mason.

"An exhaustive search effort has been carried out and we have now completed searches of all reasonably possible areas where Mary could be," he said.

Work will continue to try to locate Ms Berrington but it'll be in the form of an ongoing missing person investigation, rather than intensive ground and river searches.

Police and volunteers were again out in full force on Sunday, going door-to-door to check more backyards and sheds near Ms Berrington's Fergusson Drive home.

Dive squads have been going over the Hutt River from the Totara Park overbridge south for any items of interest and Land Search and Rescue teams also searched that area on Sunday.

Sergeant Anthony Harmer earlier told reporters Ms Berrington had been known to hide up trees and in bushes, could be in an anxious state and might not respond to calls.

"In Mary's mind, she may think she's done something wrong," he said.

"She certainly hasn't. Mary's done nothing wrong."

He said Ms Berrington had gone missing in the past in similar circumstances but it was not clear what had prompted this disappearance.

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