14 Dec 2016

Father of kidnapped toddler says it was a wake up call about security

From Checkpoint, 5:29 pm on 14 December 2016

The father of a toddler who was snatched from his bed says he felt disbelief and panic when he discovered his son was missing.

18-month-old Elisaia Kiff was found safe and well about 8.15am yesterday, after his parents discovered he was missing about 2am.

A 17-year-old has been arrested in relation to the kidnapping.

The teenager, who was not known to the family, was due to appear in Rotorua District Court today.

Elisaia's father, James Kiff, said he and his partner, Nikala Rakei, were woken by the hallway light and got up to investigate.

The couple checked Elisaia's room "and he just wasn't there", Mr Kiff said.

"[It was] indescribable. Just pure disbelief and panic."

After frantically searching the room for him they went into the lounge, where they noticed a window wide open, he said.

"I've always been a big believer in having trust in people - I usually go to sleep with my door open and during the day the door's always open."

What happened was a wake-up call to him and others, Mr Kiff said.

Getting Elisaia back later that morning was a moment of "pure happiness", he said.

"We were so knackered and tired but so relieved."

His son was in a perfectly happy state, "as though someone had picked him up for the night and dropped him back".

"He's such a placid, happy little kid."

Police said they were not seeking anyone else in relation to the incident, but anybody who saw anything suspicious in the Koutu area between 10pm and 2am was encouraged to contact them.


  • 17-year-old arrested over toddler's disappearance