A missing Australian tennis coach seemed "distant and
spiritual" before he wandered into the Waikato River in the
early hours of Sunday morning, police say.
Paul Arber, 38, was last seen swimming in the river at 4am on
Sunday by a pair of passersby, police revealed this
Waikato Field Crime Manager Detective Inspector Karl Thornton
said the pair convinced Mr Arber to get out of the water.
However, Mr Arber then changed his mind and went back into
Mr Thornton said Mr Arber's behaviour was out of character.
He had been described as acting "distant and spiritual" in
the hours before his disappearance.
Police were still looking to speak to a homeless man who Mr
Arber gave money to and a couple walking their dog who spoke
Mr Arber's parents had arrived from Australia and were
"extremely concerned", Mr Thorton said.
Mr Arber is a director and partner in Trademark Tennis in
The company's website said he had worked with the Australian
Institute of Sport and The National High Performance Academy,
and coached elite juniors and professionals including Monica
Seles and Caroline Wozniacki.
Fellow director Asar Nagar told the Herald Sun newspaper that
he had taken a small group of teenage tennis players to
Hamilton for a tournament. "We're just hoping for good news,"
Another coach and friend, Julian Arnold, said Mr Arber was
among the top few hundred players in Australia, and ran
tennis tours for young players to New Zealand the US. "He's a
great guy, there's nothing bad to say about him," he told the
"It's pretty devastating news."
Hamilton police yesterday had a caravan in Hamilton East with
a mannequin wearing clothes similar to the tracksuit Mr Arber
was wearing when last seen.
Mr Arber's wallet and keys were found on Cook St while his
luggage and passport were left in his accommodation.
Detective Inspector Karl Thornton said yesterday that the
coach had been seen to stop and pat the dog of a couple who
were out walking their pet just before he disappeared.
He had also stopped to speak to a man described by witnesses
to be a homeless person who police believed he gave some
Police appealed for the couple and the man to come forward.
"We are becoming increasingly concerned that we have not
heard from Mr Arber. He is not familiar with the area and
does not know anyone in Hamilton," Mr Thornton said.
Mr Arber is described as a slightly built Caucasian, 179
centimetres tall (5 foot 9 inches) with short, dark hair.
He was wearing a grey tracksuit with a tennis logo on the
left breast of the top and a Wilson tennis logo on the left
shoulder of the top.
Any information which may help in locating him can be
provided to Hamilton police station on 07 858 6200 or
anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
- Heather McCracken of APNZ