Police say they are treating the case of a 9-year-old boy, found with head injuries 15km outside Timaru, as an abduction.
Mystery continues to surround how the boy, who was discovered in a distressed state at Holme Station Bridge on Thursday afternoon, came to be there.
They are seeking witnesses to come forward with any information.
The boy left Oceanview Heights School in Selwyn St about 3pm and was found at the bridge at 4.20pm.
He is described as being of dark complexion, slim build, about 30kg, with dark hair. He is considered small for his age and police describe his height as more like that of a 6 or 7-year-old. He was wearing an Oceanview Heights School uniform - a dark-blue polar fleece, dark-blue shorts and a teal-green polo shirt.
The boy remains in Timaru Hospital in a stable condition but has still not been able to speak to police. His family are with him.
Detective Sergeant Dylan Murray confirmed a specialist search team from Christchurch had been at the site at the weekend but would not say whether they had uncovered anything.
"We are keeping an open mind as to what this incident is about . . . but yes, we are treating it as an abduction."
Police did not have a description of any vehicle that may have been involved.
"If you think you've seen the boy, or if you've seen the boy getting picked up then it's really important that you ring us," Mr Murray said.
Police had not been able to speak to the boy because of his condition, he said.
"He's probably been through quite a stressful situation. He's been hurt and we are working with medical staff and family to come to a good time to speak to him properly."
The family had been co-operative, Mr Murray said.
He could not confirm whether police had any leads.
Mid-South Canterbury area commander Dave Gaskin said inquiries were continuing.
"A number of people have been identified as being in the area and spoken to as a result of information received from the community."
He urged witnesses to come forward.
"Even if you don't believe you saw anything we are still wanting to know who and what vehicles were in the area during that time."
Oceanview Heights principal Jenny Langley declined to comment yesterday.
- © Fairfax NZ News