30 Jul 2021

Police suspend search for missing teen after exhausting 'viable search area options'

2:13 pm on 30 July 2021

A family member of missing Clyde teenager Caitlin Blanch has implored her to make contact with them.

Caitlin Blanch was last seen getting off the school bus about 8am on Tuesday.

Caitlin Blanch was last seen getting off the school bus about 8am on Tuesday. Photo: NZ Police

The 17-year-old was last seen getting off the school bus about 8am on Tuesday.

Police say there is nothing to suggest foul play.

The search for Caitlin has been suspended as officers have run out of options, but she may be in the wider Otago area or even further afield, and the police and her family are asking for any information that leads to her being located.

A family spokesperson said they just wanted to know she was safe.

"We just want to know she is safe. Reach out to us, make contact and let us know you are safe," they said in a statement.

"It doesn't matter who you contact, family or friends, it can be anybody. We just want to know you are safe, that's all we care about."

Police and LandSAR volunteers from the Otago area carried out an extensive search and made a number of enquiries into her whereabouts.

That involved additional searching around the edges of Alexandra and speaking with residents in the area, police said.

"Despite incredible support from our search teams, and the public, we have exhausted all viable search area options at this time," a spokesperson said.

"While the physical search has been suspended, police continue to identify and follow-up new lines of enquiry into Caitlin's whereabouts including if she has travelled outside of Alexandra. We believe Caitlin could be in the greater Otago area or beyond. At this time, there is nothing to suggest there is any foul play.

"We continue to have regular contact with Caitlin's family and have advised them of this.

"They understand that we won't hesitate to initiate further physical searches as new information comes to hand.

"Caitlin's family and police are extremely concerned for her welfare and we want to make sure she is safe. We are urging Caitlin to make contact with us and continue to appeal for information from the public to help us locate her."

Caitlin is described as being of medium build, 175cm tall, and is believed to be wearing a black jacket with fur trim, the beanie as pictured, black jeans, black boots and a dark green jersey.

Anyone who has seen Caitlin or has information about her whereabouts or wellbeing is urged to call police on 105, quoting file number 210728/6065.