MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Police – Police warn AWOL mental health clients should not be approached
UPDATE: AWOL pair recovered.
Waikato Police are seeking the public’s help in locating two men who absconded from a mental health facility and warn they should not be approached.
Senior Sergeant Andrew O’Reilly of the Waikato District Command Centre said 28-year-old Benjamin Thomas MANUEL and 21-year-old Morgan HAMIORA-SMITH were reported absent without leave from the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre on Selwyn St about 9.23pm yesterday.
“Both men were being treated as in-patients under mental health legislation before they absconded.
“The pair were reported to Police as having climbed a fence at the centre and fled and were seen walking down Selwyn and then Alison Streets. Both had red school backpack bags on their backs.”
Mr O’Reilly said reports from members of the public who encountered them suggested the pair intended to hitch-hike out of the City overnight, possibly heading to Thames.
MANUEL is described as a male Maori of medium build about 172cm tall while HAMIORA-SMITH is a male Maori of medium build and about 180cm tall.
“Both are known to have contacts throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty with MANUEL having links to the Whakatäne, Kawerau and Tokoroa areas.
“Advice from medical staff suggest neither man poses specific risk to the public however both have a history of violence and Police advise the public not to approach them but to ring 111 if they are seen.”