23 Mar 2015

Divers join search for missing boy

7:42 pm on 23 March 2015

The police national dive team has been called in to help officers searching for an Invercargill schoolboy and his stepfather.

Mike Zhao-Beckenridge

Mike Zhao-Beckenridge Photo: SUPPLIED

Michael Zhao-Beckenridge, 11, was not at school when his mother went to pick him up on 13 March, and is believed to be with his stepfather John Beckenridge, 64, who is in breach of a parenting order.

Police say concerns are mounting as the search continues, after more than a week since the couple's disappearance.

They have been searching around the Curio Bay area in the Catlins, where a number of items have been found.

Inspector Kelvin Lloyd said they were hopeful the boy had not been hurt but they were getting more anxious.

"The longer that we have no contact, or any confirmed sightings, the concern is elevated.

"It certainly hasn't abated from the start of the inquiry, and it would be fair to say that the longer this goes on, the greater the concerns that we and the family have."

He said there was hope the pair were still in the Catlins area, and that the surrounding rugged bush country was an easy place for someone to hide.

A number of specialist squads, including the national dive team, have been called in to assist with the search.

The police said earlier reports of a car going off the cliff in the area cannot be confirmed.

  • Confirmed sighting of missing boy
  • Police search for missing boy