Search continues for missing Westport woman and Spanish tourist

Missing Westport woman Leanne Ryall.
NZ POLICE

Missing Westport woman Leanne Ryall.

Police are appealing for information about missing West Coast woman Leanne Ryall.

The 50-year-old was last seen walking south along Cobden St towards Derby St in Westport about 9am on Friday.

Police have concerns for Ryall's safety and want to hear from anyone who may have seen her around that time or since. 

Missing Spanish tourist Adrian Vega Leiros
NZ POLICE

Missing Spanish tourist Adrian Vega Leiros

Westport Land Search and Rescue (SAR) chairman Ross Cocker said Ryall's friends and family had conducted a private search of Westport beach and lagoon areas on Saturday. 

Land SAR volunteers were brought in to help police search on Sunday, but had been stood down by police on Monday. 

READ MORE: Concern for Westport woman and Spanish tourist missing on West Coast

"[Our ground search] around the northern part of Westport town and by the beach … was suspended by police while they are making further inquiries and following up on information they might get from those inquiries," Cocker said.

Westport residents detailed areas that had already been searched and family appealed for people to keep looking on a community Facebook page. 

Ryall's sister Karen Ryall posted on the page: "The more people looking for her the better. Look anywhere you can think of [as] she could be hurt [or] anything she could be disoriented and not quite know where she is she might just need to hear someone calling her".

Police acting Senior Sergeant Paul Watson said while Land SAR volunteers had been stood down, police still needed the public's help in the search.

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"We are treating it as a missing person rather than a lost person file. We have exhausted the likely search areas at the moment, but we have still got inquiries being followed up on. We still have to review the town's cameras and her cellphone records," he said. 

"We'd ask people to check their backyards as we don't have the resources to go door-to-door in the Westport area. That's quite labour intensive for some 3000 properties."

Watson said Ryall lived with her partner and had two adult children. 

"Her partner had arranged to meet up with her and was quite shocked to find her not at home," he said. 

Police believed the woman was still in the Westport area, but were not ruling out the possibility that she might have travelled further afield.

A drone operator assisted Police, LandSAR and the Westport fire brigade in an extensive land-based search of bush areas and tracks over the weekend. 

It was out of character for her to be away from home without contacting her friends or family. It was not know what she was wearing when she left home.

"Leanne wasn't prepared to be staying away from her home for any length of time and we do have concerns for her safety," a police statement said.

Leanne is approximately 161 centimetres tall, of solid build and has short, wavy red/brown hair.

Meanwhile, Watson said police were aware missing Spanish tourist Adrian Vega Leiros could have been invited to a "private gathering in a secluded spot" in the Punakaiki area. 

"Indications are he had an invite to this invite-only event in the middle of nowhere so we are reasonably sure that's where he'll be, but we still have to confirm this," he said. 

The 28-year-old left Westport on February 27 for a seven-day tramp in Punakaiki. He was due back on March 7. 

Police had believed he could be hitchhiking on the coast.

Anyone who has seen Ryall or Leiros, or spoken to a man with a Spanish accent on the West Coast, is encouraged to contact their local police station.

 - Stuff

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