A 9-year-old boy was found injured near Holme Station Bridge on Thursday, and Timaru police are asking for the public's help to uncover what happened.
The boy was taken to Timaru Hospital after he was found by a passer-by about 4pm. He had injuries to his face and was "distressed", investigators said.
Senior Sergeant Mark Offen said the boy was conscious, and his injuries were not considered life-threatening. But he was uncommunicative and, as of yesterday afternoon, had not spoken to police.
It's unclear whether the boy was unable to speak because of his injuries, or was choosing not to, he said.
The boy lives in the Waimataitai section of Timaru and attends Oceanview Heights School. He left the school about 3.15pm to walk home, as normal.
Police said they don't yet know how he came to be at the bridge, more than 15km, by road, from his home and school.
"Until we can talk to him, it's only speculation as to how he got to Holme Station Bridge," Mr Offen said. "But we don't think he's walked on his own, considering the timeframe."
The boy was wearing an Oceanview Heights uniform: dark blue polar fleece, dark blue shorts and a teal green polo shirt.
He has a dark complexion and dark hair and is small for his age, weighing 30kg with a slim build.
Police are asking for the public to report any sightings of the boy or of a vehicle parked in the area of the Holme Station Bridge on Thursday afternoon.
They are also interested in any sightings of suspicious behaviour in the vicinity of Oceanview Heights School, near Selwyn and Hobbs streets.
Anyone with information should contact Timaru police on (03) 687 9808.
- The Timaru Herald