Missing 85-year-old woman’s husband desperate to help find her

Shirley Warrington. Photo: NZ Police
Shirley Warrington. Photo: NZ Police
The elderly husband of missing Christchurch woman Shirley Warrington is desperately trying to remember the last evening he spent with his wife.

Police yesterday suspended the search for the 85-year-old Burwood woman after three days and four nights of intensive searching in Ferrymead turned up no trace of her.

Shirley’s husband Wally Warrington, who was with his wife on the night she went missing, is currently in hospital and is desperately trying to help police retrace their steps on Saturday, their granddaughter Aleisha Hofman said.

“Wally is still in hospital and is in shock, trying to remember what happened,” said Hofman.

“Each day something new comes to light as Wally remembers something else, which is why the story has changed and there has been some confusion.”

They had travelled from their home in Burwood to Rolleston on Saturday, for reasons still unknown to the family.

Hofman said it was hard to say why they had gone.

“Unless nan had thought of someone she used to know who lived there and so they then headed that way,” she said.

Wally, also in his 80s, had been driving.

Searchers look for missing 85-year-old Shirley Warrington on Tuesday. Photo: George Heard
Searchers look for missing 85-year-old Shirley Warrington on Tuesday. Photo: George Heard
The couple were stopped by police on Main South Rd in Rolleston about 7.30pm after a patrol noticed the vehicle’s lights were on high beam.

They were also driving slow.

The Warringtons then drove to Ferrymead. CCTV footage captured their car about 8.30pm with Shirley and Wally inside.

“They hadn’t been to Rolleston in a long time, which is how we think they had gotten lost on their way home and ended up in Ferrymead,” said Hofman.

At 10.20pm, footage of the car showed just one person inside.

The family thinks when they got to Ferrymead, Shirley had gone for a walk and wandered off.

“Recently, she had more frequently been showing signs of dementia,” said Hofman.

“We were trying to figure this out prior to her disappearance but nan is very independent and stubborn.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Damon Wells said it was believed Wally drove around trying to find Shirley with no luck.

He thought they had possibly been to Ferrymead Historic Park.

“It’s been quite traumatic for him. His recollection has helped us locate an area she could be,” Wells said.

“He’s really concerned about her.”

Now the police search has been called off, Hofman said they were hoping the public would help to bring Shirley home.

“We have been going out every day to look for her but now are truly relying on the public to check around their homes and properties, even out in paddocks.”

She said even if people think they have seen someone that looks like Shirley to not hesitate and get in touch with the police.

“The public is our best shot now, it’s such a big region and she could be anywhere,” said Hofman.

“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Hofman also expressed how grateful she and her family, including her mum and Shirley’s daughter Karen Colville, were for the public’s support in the search for Shirley.

“It is overwhelming how the city has bonded together to try and bring her home,” she said.

“They are helping us push forward each day.”

If you have information that could help the case, phone 111 and quote file number 210711/8724. 

Police will continue to identify and follow-up new lines of inquiry.




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