Tramper who went missing is listed sex offender

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 18:39 23/04/2013
Guy Verschuur std
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UNDER REVIEW: Guy Verschuur.
Jenny Rautio
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RESCUED: Jenny Rautio.

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Immigration New Zealand is reviewing the file of an American man, who was rescued yesterday after being one of a trio overdue for more than a week from a tramp in the Kahurangi National Park.

Guy Verschuur, 51, is listed on the Nebraska Sex Offender register, an official website of the state government.

He was convicted of first degree false imprisonment of a minor in January 1998.

The site had a photo of Verschuur which matched that used by Nelson police, and recorded him as having ‘‘absconded’’. Details of his crime were not listed on the website.

Police in both New Zealand and the US have said they have no criminal interest in Verschuur, who could not be reached for comment today.

But Immigration NZ said today his file was being ‘‘actively reviewed’’.

‘‘INZ takes the allegations about Mr Verschuur extremely seriously,’’ acting general manager Marie Sullivan said.

‘‘People are required to declare whether or not they are under investigation by a law enforcement agency in any country, or have a criminal record.’’

Verschuur arrived in New Zealand on a visitor visa in December 2002, and had become a resident, she said. For privacy reasons, she was unable to provide further details.

Nebraska police told TV3 yesterday they had no criminal interest in Verschuur Nelson police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn from Nelson Police said the police mission remained purely one of search and rescue.

‘‘We wouldn’t initiate something if we don’t have a criminal interest. That would have to come from the other end.’’
Police would not check his status in his home country, she said.

‘‘If the US authorities were looking for a person in New Zealand, that person would be flagged,’’ she said.
Dunn could not rule out that he had been ‘‘flagged’’.

Verschuur, Jenny Rautio, 26, from Finland, and American Kristine Mattiace, 22, were found at the Anatoki Forks Hut about 5pm on Monday night, after police expressed ‘‘grave fears’’ for them.

Torrential rain had made tracks in the park potentially dangerous.

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One of the three trampers, a woman, needed medical attention after being found, but they were believed to be in reasonable shape.

The trio set out on the three-day tramp on Friday, April 12, after texting their plans to a Golden Bay man. They were aware of the forecast bad weather, and they did not have a lot of equipment to handle difficult situations.

Inspector Steve Greally of Nelson said police were not told until the trio were seven days overdue.

A friend had tried to be a ‘‘hero’’, Mr Greally said, and searched for them first before alerting police.

- Stuff

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