Missing two year old located in huge police operation
Back to basics policing was the key to finding missing two year-old Gabriel
Witehira-Donnelly in a shed in Panmure at about 7.15pm last evening.
Gabriel had been taken from his mother's property in Coates Cres at about
12.15pm by an associate of hers, convicted killer 33 year-old Phillip Layton
Police saturated the area and mobilised several search phases over the
following six hours, but the back to basics door knocking carried out by the
Field Training Unit staff hit gold when Gabriel was found shivering and
frightened in a shed in Oran Rd, Panmure.
Police Field Training Units comprise recent Police College Graduates who,
before they are fully deployed to their district, undergo a further 10 weeks
in-the-field training so as to transition them from college to operational
While at the back of the Oran Rd property, two officers heard - over the
noise of a downpour - faint cries from a child. Thinking the child might
still be in the company of the man who had taken him, they called for backup
then retrieved the little boy from an open box he was crouching in.
Access to the shed was not straight forward as the shed door was damaged and
locked, although there was a gap between it and the frame.
Police today are urging members of the public to contact them if they see
Phillip Edwards or suspect he may have been hiding out near their property.
The investigation team has set up an 0800 number - 0800 332 334 - and anyone
who has information about Philip Edwards is urged to call either that or 111
immediately. The most recent photo of him is available on the Police website
and the Auckland City Facebook page - www.facebook.com/AucklandPolice