Police still hope to find missing teen
Whatever happened to Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours, his family "just want him back". Nelson police hope that will be sooner, rather than later.
The officer in charge of the cold case Detective Sergeant Mark Kaveney, of Nelson CIB, said police had not received "startling" information so far following a public plea last week. But, he still believed someone in the community knew what had happened to Mr Lipp-Neighbours.
"It would be on their conscience" that they needed to call police. "For the family's sake, more than anything else."
Mr Lipp-Neighbours disappeared on Sunday January 24, 2010. Following a 10-month review of the file police said last week they believed someone had committed a serious crime against the Canterbury University engineering student.
He had been drinking with friends at a Nelson club earlier in the evening before driving away from his Washington Valley flat. Neither Mr Lipp-Neighbours nor his bright orange Toyota station wagon has been seen since.
Mr Kaveney said police were still confident that the last time he was seen was when he left the Washington Valley flat at 4am.
He told his flatmates that he was going to be at "one with nature" which his flatmates took to mean he was going outside to go to the toilet, he said.
Mr Lipp-Neighbours' bright orange car is considered a crucial link into his disappearance.
Mr Kaveney said police had investigated rumours that the teenager's car had been hidden in a shipping container and possibly buried.
"We have made inquiries along those lines and they have come to nothing. Obviously we keep an open mind in relation to those types of things particularly if it was foul play involved. We have followed up that information from various sources."
Mr Kaveney said they had also followed up the possibility that Mr Lipp-Neighbours had crashed into the water and had done searches involving dive squads and search and rescue, which unfortunately had also come to nothing.
Mr Kaveney said right from the beginning foul play was one of the possible scenario's for Mr Lipp-Neighbours' disappearance.
The other possible scenarios were that he had a crash and was lying dead in his vehicle or had committed suicide.
"The family know those scenarios are out there. Whatever it is they just want him back."
He said the 19-year-old had no enemies that police were aware of and if it was foul play, it was likely that Mr Lipp-Neighbours had found himself in the "wrong place at the wrong time".
Mr Lipp-Neighbours was a "nice guy, from a good background".
There was no evidence to say he was leading a double life, he said.
"He had everything in front of him, uni and all kinds of stuff. Loving parents, good friends, everything in front of him."
Mr Kaveney said police were still working through the information received from the public and he hoped more members of the public would come forward.
"I'm confident someone out there knows something and they are just biding their time to tell us. And I hope they do so sooner rather than later."
He said that people could give information anonymously via Crimestoppers. They would not have to give their details. Crimestoppers is offering a $50,000 reward.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation can call Nelson Police, 546 3840.
Anonymous information can be given by calling Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
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