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A 26-year-old man will face court today charged with the assault of a 9-year-old boy who was suspected to have been abducted in Timaru.
South Canterbury Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin confirmed this morning that police had charged the man after he was interviewed overnight.
The man is known to the child but Mr Gaskin said they were not related.
He is charged with injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and is to appear in Timaru District Court this morning.
"We received some great support from members of the public. A number of people saw different things that, although they didn't mean much to them at the time, we pieced it all together," Mr Gaskin told Radio New Zealand.
The boy was found bloodied and distressed by a river some 15km from Oceanview Heights School last Thursday.
An inability to interview the youngster stalled the investigation.
Mr Gaskin would not say how the man knew the boy.
"I can just confirm the boy and the man were not strangers. This is not a case of a stranger abducting that child off the street," he told Radio New Zealand.
Mr Gaskin said reports from a neighbour of the school who said she saw a man taking photos of students on the day the boy was suspected of being abducted was unrelated to the case.
He said police would follow up with that witness' account.