Police investigate sightings of missing girl LA Tukerangi

Sightings of allegedly missing Auckland girl LA Tukerangi have been reported to police.

Police said that there have been a number of reported sightings in North Island of LA and the man believed to be hers captor.

“All of these sightings are unconfirmed at this stage and we are following through on those reports. A number pre-date Sunday when Whakatau was seen in Rotorua,” said a police spokeswoman. 

Last Saturday, 15-year-old LA told her family that she was being held against her will by a 36-year-old man Dean Whakatau.

A press release by police and social media commentary indicate that LA and Whakatau have been together for about two weeks.

“She was forced into his car or taken away with him and she stayed with him for a couple of weeks saying that she was fine, until Saturday just gone [when] she got in contact with us and said she was desperate for her life,” said the Tukerangi family.

According to the Department of Corrections, Whakatau was released from jail in June. He reportedly had a warrant for his arrest for breach of released conditions, and has faced rape and kidnapping charges in the past.

Detective Senior Sergeant Zane Smith urges LA to make contact with her family or the police, adding that speculation on whether she is with Whakatau willingly or not is not helpful. Police need to speak to her directly to confirm that she’s safe.

“If she is with Dean Whakatau we also urge him to drop her outside a police station or in a public place where we can collect her, or have someone else drop her off for him,” he added.

All of the sightings are all currently unconfirmed. Police have followed up and continued with their investigations.

Anyone with information is encouraged to report to 111.