15 Feb 2016

30 police officers hunting Palmerston North kidnapper

8:49 am on 15 February 2016

More than 30 officers and detectives are continuing to hunt for the man who snatched Shekinah Tekira-Skipper as she was walking to school with her sisters.

Police are appealing for sightings of a car, similar to this one pictured.

Police are appealing for sightings of a car, similar to this one pictured. Photo: NZ POLICE

Shekinah was grabbed off a Palmerston North street on Friday morning and pulled into a car.

Shekinah Relies-Skipper

Shekinah Tekira-Skipper was taken as she walked to school. Photo: SUPPLIED / NZ Police

She was found a few hours later by a passer-by on the other side of the city and reunited with her family.

Police have released a description of the man who took Shekinah, and say he is in his late 50s with grey and white 'salt and pepper' style hair and has facial stubble.

He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, of a slim build and caucasian.

Police said the man had a scruffy and unkempt look, and may have some teeth missing.

Police are also still seeking information about a white 1988-1995 model Nissan Maxima.

They said the vehicle had a very distinctive back end - from a distance, the back rear lights and the brake lights appear to look like one black strip - which people may remember having seen.

Police are looking for a similar vehicle to this in relation to the events in Palmerston North.

The back of the car is distinctive. Photo: NZ POLICE

Manawatu Area Commander Inspector Sarah Stuart said incidents like this were rare, but were every family's worst nightmare.

"We've a much loved young girl who has been taken by someone not known to her and we currently do not know why."

Ms Stuart said parents in Palmerston North needed to be vigilant and encouraged them to speak to their children about avoiding people they didn't know and people who approached them in an unusual place.

"Unlike this case, most children who are taken by someone know that person in some way, so it's really important to speak to your children around behaviours they should be avoiding - no matter who is displaying it.

"This includes approaches by anyone in unusual places, when anyone asks them illicit questions, or when someone interacts with them inappropriately - no matter how small."

Ms Stuart said parents should be thinking about ways that they can prevent these incidents happening, including having friends or older relatives walk to school with children.