Mum hires child recovery expert to search for daughter
The mother of a six-year-old reported missing on a boat with her father has hired a child recovery specialist to conduct a private search.
This is the second time leading Australian child recovery specialist Col Chapman has been hired by Ariane Wyler to locate her estranged husband Alan Langdon and their daughter Que.
More than a year ago Langdon and Que were found by Chapman living rurally.
On December 17, Langdon, 49, with his daughter Que, 6, left Kawhia on a 6-metre catamaran. They haven't been seen or heard from since.
Police said the pair were headed to the Bay of Islands to spend Christmas with friends and possibly family in nearby Whangarei.
Chapman said Langdon is a highly skilled sailor.
Chapman, who has been involved in high-profile child abduction cases in Australia and New Zealand, said he has not been in contact with New Zealand police.
He has been instructed by his client to travel to New Zealand and conduct an independent search for Que and Langdon.
"We hope to be in New Zealand within the next 48 hours to assist police and to offer resources," Chapman said.
"We are suggesting that by day 18 to 20, it becomes a case that something has happened, that they have left the area, so let's put a plane up in the air and search the area properly.
Chapman has worked in finding missing children for close to two decades in Australia and New Zealand.
His work has taken him abroad in most cases.
Police on Thursday afternoon said they were too busy to answer questions on the search for Langdon and Que.
On Wednesday Waikato police had completed a full search of the waters in their area and Auckland Maritime Unit would continue searches north.
Langdon's estranged wife, Ariane Wyler, is based in Nelson but is currently on holiday in her home country of Switzerland. She said on Wednesday that Langdon's Kawhia-based parents relayed news of he and Que being reported as missing. It was a shock but she was confident they were OK.
"I am strongly convinced that they both are alive, well and safe," Wyler said. "Que spent her first four and a half years of her life on a 46ft catamaran. I believe in Alan Langdon and his capabilities as a seagoing person. Now this boat is only 21ft long. It's fairly small but in some ways it's only a small version of Que's previous home.
"Our home, the boat Tiki Sanyasin, was totally destroyed during cyclone Pam on 13 March 2015. Alan, Que and I survived the storm luckily more or less unscathed. It was terrifying and we were separated during the storm.
Langdon had spent months fixing up his catamaran in the back yard of Mary Smith's home in Kawhia while he and Que stayed with her.
She was also anxious for word on the pair.
"I haven't heard anything since I said goodbye on the 17th," Smith said.
"They just sailed away on the adventure.
"We're absolutely broken - he is a very experienced sailor but we don't know what makes people tick."
Langdon and his daughter have been living with Smith in Kawhia since they moved home from Australia mid-2016, Smith said.
"They came back for our birthdays - Que and I have the same birthday."
Despite a close relationship, Smith said Langdon had not divulged the path he intended to travel with his daughter.
"He didn't tell me where he was going and he's been with me for five months - that's just him, keeping it close to his chest."