Police draw blanks over missing man case

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 17:10 20/05/2014
Stephen Walker
Supplied
MISSING: Stephen Walker
Pete and Andy Walker
BLOCK BOYS: Pete and Andy Walker.

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Foul play has not been ruled out as a factor in the disappearance of Rangitikei man Stephen Walker, 25.

The health and location of the brother of The Block NZ contestants Pete and Andy Walker remains a mystery for police, with no significant leads uncovered today.

Foul play was being considered as a possibility, but for now Walker was being treated as a missing person, search co-ordinator Sergeant Andy Brooke said.

"We've got to keep a bit of an open mind about it all. The possibility is that he's not even in this area, that he's sheltering somewhere else.

"If he has gone up in the hills he could still survive that.

"His house is so messy that his family haven't been able to identify what is missing from his belongings and because no-one has seen him on his bike it is possible he has taken a bag full of goods with him.

"If that's the case he could walk out quite happily from the bush, even after all this time."

Walker wasn't a known hunter or bushman, but had a "military background" and some skills and knowledge of how to survive in the bush, Brooke said.

He hadn't used his bank account or cellphone for about a month and lived a "low-key lifestyle".

Police were working with his friends and family to find out as much information as possible, Brooke said.

Walker was last seen at his home in Bulls at 8.30pm last Wednesday.

Brooke said one search team had today scoured the Makoura Rd area near the intersection of Pohangina Rd in Apiti, north of Palmerston North, where a blue Suzuki TF125 farm bike Walker was believed to have been riding was found.

Police want to talk to anyone who has seen a bike matching this description between Bulls and Makoura Rd, possibly being ridden by someone without a motorcycle helmet, between 8.30pm on Wednesday and 7.30am on Thursday.

Apart from that work, three days of extensive land and aerial search in rural Manawatu farmland had paused.

Brooke said it had been a day for tidying up loose ends, looking again at Walker's bank accounts and at his flat.

Pete and Andy Walker were popular contestants on TV3 show The Block NZ last year.

They amassed a huge fan base, won the people's choice award at the end of the season and have since appeared in Hirepool television advertisements.

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Walker is 182 centimetres tall, of medium build with short brown hair and was last seen wearing a green Swanndri, a green hoodie, track pants and gumboots.

Anyone with information can contact the Palmerston North police on 06 351 3600 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

- Manawatu Standard

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