Charges unlikely over missing family

Police say charges are unlikely for a man at the centre of yesterday's mass search for a family feared taken hostage, as no offences are believed to have taken place.

However, the man has been referred to mental health professionals for assessment.

Police began searching for a four-wheel-drive being driven by a man with a female passenger - seen to be in a distressed state - and two young children about 2.20pm.

The search started in Cambridge before an unconfirmed sighting of the car in Waihi.

Police from across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Eastern District were involved in the search, before the family's vehicle stopped by police in Napier.

"The man, his wife and their two young children were all located safe and well in the vehicle about 7pm after members of the public again raised concerns about a distressed woman in the vehicle," Eastern Waikato area commander, Inspector Dana McDonald said.

"As a result officers were able to respond in a timely manner and the issue was resolved without incident, no charges have been laid at this stage and it is unlikely that they will.

The man, however, has been referred to mental health professionals for assessment."

Inspector McDonald commended the public for contacting the police with concerns about the welfare of the family.

"These two interactions highlight the value of members of the community, often alerted of issues by the media, taking an active part in the prevention of crime.

"It is by being aware of your surroundings and realising when something doesn't appear right, then acting on that realisation, that enables police to act in a timely manner."

- Herald Online

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