No trace found of missing Alex man

Central Otago LandSAR operations manager Adrian ‘‘Snow’’ Dance briefs volunteers before Saturday...
Central Otago LandSAR operations manager Adrian ‘‘Snow’’ Dance briefs volunteers before Saturday morning’s search for missing Alexandra man Christopher Bates. Photo: Adam Burns
Efforts to locate missing Alexandra man Christopher Bates resumed at the weekend without success.

Christopher Bates.
Christopher Bates.
Central Otago police and Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) volunteers combed an area near Alexandra early on Saturday but found no sign of Mr Bates. Volunteers were stood down just before noon. The 22-year-old was last seen a year ago today, on CCTV footage, buying a packet of cigarettes at the Z fuel station in Tarbert St.

Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said the objective of the morning was met, albeit unsuccessfully.

"We covered off the set area based on the information we had, but unfortunately without finding the location of Chris.

"It’s sort of a successful failure. It’s another part of the jigsaw we can probably tick off."

Volunteers searched an area near the Manuherikia River where the last signal from Mr Bates’ cellphone was picked up, on February 12, and beside an area where an empty cigarette packet of the brand of cigarettes Mr Bates smoked was later found.

Mr Shaw said he hoped for "a break from the public" with new information.

"Our opportunities are getting more limited.

"We’re keeping an open mind as to why we haven’t found him but we’re gravely concerned for his wellbeing."

Mr Shaw said there would be a debrief and review process following the latest phase of the inquiry.

adam.burns@odt.co.nz

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