A 26-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the alleged abduction of a nine-year-old Timaru boy.
The man was arrested last night and charged with causing grievous bodily harm to the nine-year-old, who was found battered and shaken in Timaru last Thursday.
He had left school shortly after 3pm and was found 15 kilometres away.
Police have been trying to establish what happened to him ever since.
Last night they arrested a 26-year-old man, who would appear in Timaru District Court today, Mid-South Canterbury area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said.
The man was known to the child, but Gaskin would not say if they were related.
Further charges were likely, Gaskin said.
The boy, who had injuries to his mouth and jaw, remained in Timaru Hospital but seemed "perfectly happy, perfectly relaxed," Gaskin said.
Police spoke with the boy for the second time yesterday, Gaskin said.
Investigators pieced together details provided by the public, both in Timaru and in the rural area along Holme Station Rd where the boy was found.
Gaskin thanked members of the public who had come forward to assist with the investigation.
Investigators were likely to continue to be in touch with the boy, but no further formal interviews were planned.
Gaskin also thanked the small team of investigators who "worked long hours doing tedious work" to piece together elements of the case.
The boy was found at Holme Station Bridge at 4.20pm on Thursday, after leaving Oceanview Heights School in Selwyn St about 3pm. He was last seen at the corner of Selwyn St and Luxmoore Rd.
The boy had been known to "go missing" at times after leaving school.
Police also spoke yesterday with a Selwyn St woman who told media that she'd seen a man photographing children at Oceanview Heights School on the same day that the boy disappeared.
Gaskin said the information she provided did not appear to be relevant to the investigation.
The investigation has put additional strain on the already-stretched resources of Timaru's criminal investigation staff.
The department is handling several serious crime investigations that have occurred in recent months.
Staff had been pulled from other investigations to focus on the abduction case, Gaskin said.
He said he had not requested additional assistance from Christchurch, aside from enlisting the help of a team specialising in crime-scene searches that combed the Holme Station Bridge area at the weekend.
- The Timaru Herald
Have you seen rats on your property?Related story: Does Christchurch have a rat problem?