Rescued tramper being investigated

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 14:03 06/05/2013
Jenny Rautio and Guy Verschuur
Fairfax NZ

WARM AND DRY: Good friends Jenny Rautio and Guy Verschuur were rescued from the Anatoki Forks Hut in Golden Bay. Verschuur is now being investigated by US police.

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US police are investigating a man now living in New Zealand who "absconded" from the state of Nebraska, where he had been listed on a sex offender register.

Guy Verschuur, 51, arrived in this country on a visitor visa in December 2002, and has since been granted a residence visa. Questions about his presence in New Zealand arose after publicity last month when he was overdue on a tramping trip in Golden Bay.

He had been convicted in the US of first-degree false imprisonment of a minor in January 1998.

Radio New Zealand today quoted Nebraska State Patrol investigator Charlie O'Callaghan saying he would be making a criminal case against Verschuur for leaving the US without notification.

Police in this country said they had not been approached for information or assistance.

Speaking after he and two companions were found overdue in a national park hut, Verschuur said he had been convicted of "false imprisonment with sexual intentions" in the US.

"I had a major hypoglycemic attack and reached out to someone during the attack. There was fabrication on the other side of what my intention was," he said of the 1998 incident.

"The person was scared. It's understandable the person was scared."

Verschuur, who lives on a house bus at a friend's property near Takaka, said he had sought legal advice when he was thinking of leaving the US, because his record was close to being expunged.

He said he "acted on what he was instructed to do". He later discovered his legal advice was incorrect.

Immigration said Verschuur had declared his criminal conviction when he applied for residence in 2008, and he had been granted a residence visa for this country without the character waiver usually required for applicants with convictions.

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