Missing teen LA Tukerangi found in Bay of Plenty

  • 06/08/2015
Dean Whakatau (L) and LA Tukerangi (Supplied)
Dean Whakatau (L) and LA Tukerangi (Supplied)

By 3 News online staff

LA Tukerangi, a 15-year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped, has been located after witnesses spotted her and her alleged captor.

She made contact with her family last weekend asking for help, saying she was being held against her will by a man, who police believed to be 36-year-old Dean Whakatau.

Police say LA and Whakatau were located in eastern Bay of Plenty this morning after reports the pair had spent time in Taupo and Rotorua.

"[We] will be speaking with them and have advised LA's family," a spokesperson said.

Police yesterday identified a vehicle of interest; a Toyota Corolla with the number plate SH1810.

Te Whanau A Apanui School’s relieving principal Alan Beeden was out for a meal last night with Board of Trustees chairman Whetu Haerewa, who is also a local police officer.

"On way home in the police ute, Haerewa got a call to say the wanted Corolla had been spotted," Mr Beeden said.

"We drove back towards that location and on the way the wanted car went past."

Mr Haerewa called it in, dropped the principal back to his Te Kaha motel and then carried on in pursuit of the pair.

Mr Beeden says he received a call this morning to say the situation had been resolved.

LA's father Chris Tukerangi told 3 News the family are waiting to be reunited with her, but don't yet know when that will happen.

"We are grateful for the public support and we are grateful to the police," he said. "We are totally blown away by the news and overwhelmed she is safe."

No further details about the case were provided.

3 News