Sibling of missing Marokopa kids fundraises reward in appeal for information

The family of three children missing for 10 months are fundraising for a reward to offer for information leading to their return.

Marokopa father Thomas Phillips and his three children Jayda, 9, Maverick, 7, and Ember, 6 have been missing since December 2021.

A warrant was issued for Phillip’s arrest after he failed to appear in court on a charge of wasting police time and resources.

The eldest sister of the children, Storm Dawson, has created a GiveaLittle page to raise funds that can be offered as a reward.

Area Commander Will Loughrin said a reward had been considered, however, police were not looking to post one.

“Police continue to utilise different available resources and investigative tools as part of the ongoing enquiry into the whereabouts of Tom Phillips and his children.”

Dawson said the family worked closely alongside police throughout the investigation, and understood the complications it would create if they were to fund a reward.

“Which is why we need to source it ourselves. As hard as it is to ask the public for their help in this way, we’ve decided a reward is the most effective way to find the children.”

Any remaining funds would be donated to parties that helped in the missing persons search last September, when the father’s truck was found abandoned in the surf of Kiritehere Beach.

Dawson said that could include Waikato Police, Search and Rescue, Waitomo LandSAR, Hamilton LandSAR, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, ISO Limited and the local Kiritihiri iwi.

“Any amount you are willing to donate is extremely appreciated. We just want our babies home.”

The page had raised just shy of $2000 on Thursday afternoon.

Loughrin said police were continuing to receive information on the potential whereabouts of the children and every piece of information was being followed up.

“We work closely with the family who are desperate to locate them and we know with each day that passes how painful this is for them and we are doing what we can to support them at this difficult time.”

Anyone with information on the Marokopa children’s whereabouts are asked to contact Police.

Information can also be given anonymously on 0800 555 111.