Car smash victim was on the run

ROB KIDD
Last updated 14:16 19/02/2013

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A 13-year-old boy who died after crashing a car in South Auckland in 2010 had been on the run from authorities, with the help of his family, for two months.

A coroner's inquest into the death of Isaiah Nathan began at the Auckland District Court this morning.

Nathan was removed from his parents care by Child, Youth and Family in April 2009 after issues with emotional abuse, domestic violence and criminal offending.

Nearly 18 months later he was found dead behind the wheel of a stolen car on a suburban Manurewa street after driving around with friends at more than twice the speed limit.

Nathan was originally put in the care of his grandmother but she was looking after two other children and CYF relocated him to approved caregivers in rural Kaitaia.

Initially he attended school and his behaviour improved along with his academic performance.

However, at the end of 2009, he absconded for three months before being relocated but took off again with another boy in September 2010.

His caregivers called Kaitaia police and Sergeant Alison Holdaway filed a missing persons report and attempted to contact his social worker.

Though it was understood he would travel back to South Auckland to be with family, there was no communication between police districts to pass on information.

When pressed on the matter by Coroner Katharine Greig, Holdaway admitted more could have been done to locate Nathan, though she did not believe there was a great risk to his safety as he had previously proved himself as being "streetwise".

"Realistically speaking, the file should've been forwarded... it probably should've gone there straight away," Holdaway said.

"[CYF caregivers] believed he was heading to Auckland and I had a tendency to agree with them, so I should've sent that file."

Today it was revealed CYF made six visits to Nathan's family and numerous phone calls but never caught up with the teenager.

On December 15 at 7am, Nathan was speeding through Manurewa with four passengers between the ages of 12 and 15.

While taking a moderate right-hand bend on Winfield St, he lost control, skidded onto the grass verge and took out the fences to several properties.

One fence post smashed through the vehicle and caused him "severe blunt force trauma to the head".

Investigations indicated he was not wearing a seatbelt.

The passengers fled the scene but were later picked up by police.

The coroner's inquest is set down for two days.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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