Missing pair's Mangaore mystery explained

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:08 26/03/2014

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New light has been shed on the trials of a couple who lost their way between Palmerston North and Wellington.

The pair, Palmerston North's Louise Owen and her partner Craig Nichols, 35, originally from Woodville, called police on Monday night to report that they had become disorientated and driven off the highway somewhere between Palmerston North and the capital.

Out of petrol and with cell phone battery life running low, the pair were only able to give police a scant description of their surrounds before their cellphones died.

The pair were initially believed to be travelling from Wellington to Palmerston North.

However since they were found yesterday in the small rural township of Mangaore, near Shannon, new details have come to light.

Palmerston North Inspector Brett Calkin said the pair had actually set out on Sunday, and were travelling to Wellington from Palmerston North.

They spent the first night in their car, which ran out of petrol near a dam off Mangahao Rd, about 30 minutes by car from Mangaore.

They did not contact police until Monday evening, shortly before 9pm.

They spent Monday night in their car, and it wasn't until shortly before they were found on Tuesday that they attempted to walk back the way they came.

Ms Owen quickly fatigued, and Mr Nichols left her with a blanket while he walked on.

Although initially thought to have a broken foot, it later transpired Mr Nichol's foot was cut, Mr Calkin said.

Mr Nichols was found by hunters in a four-wheel drive coming out of the bush, who collected him and Ms Owen and took them back down to Mangaore.

They arrived about 3.30pm on Tuesday, in time to flag down a visiting patrol car.

Ms Owen, who has an underlying medical condition that affects her memory, was taken to Palmerston North Hospital to be checked.

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- Manawatu Standard

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