A confirmed sighting of a dementia sufferer in Hamilton, two days after he went missing, has brought new hope that he will be reunited with his family.
Trevor Smith went missing after wandering from the Pembroke St entrance of Waikato Hospital at 5pm on Sunday.
A Tuesday sighting near the hospital has buoyed hopes among searchers.
"Yesterday a member of the public who had seen news coverage of Mr Smith's plight provided a sighting matching his description between 12 to 12.30pm near traffic lights on the corner of Lorne St and SH3/Ohaupo Rd on Tuesday," said Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson of the Hamilton CIB.
"The information obtained in this sighting report is assessed as being accurate and has reinforced to us that the search operations conducted by the police and search and rescue volunteers, and those of friends and family have been centred in the right areas."
When Smith was reported missing he was clean shaven, wore a grey cap, dark blue track pants, white shoes and a distinctive lime green Warriors league jersey.
Patterson said that after five days his appearance may have changed but the key to locating him was the Warriors jersey he wore.
Smith's nephew and co-ordinator of the whanau search effort, Aubrey Stothers, said they were overwhelmed at the sighting.
"For the family that's given us another lease on life, another suggestion that he is pretty local and he is pretty mobile and he has got the same clothes on."
More friends and family came to Hamilton to help in the search - there were now 60 on the ground - and Maori wardens had joined police in the search.
Other members of the community had started their own searches around the city.
"One of the stories that have come back, an example is, a few ladies had read this in one of the newspapers and took the next day off and actually searched," he said.
"I've come across walkers in the past six hours because they've found out that information."
He said the whanau had "huge belief"' that Mr Smith would be found.
"We believe that Trevor Smith is still OK and is still healthy.
"He might be a bit weary."
Smith suffered mild dementia and diabetes and would likely be disoriented.
Medical experts told police his insulin dependency was not life threatening but they were still very concerned for his safety.
Police are keen to speak to anyone else who may have seen, spoken to or stopped to give Smith a ride.
"Once again, if you see someone matching his description or think you may have seen him contact police on 111."
- Waikato Times