Family hire private investigator to help with search for missing Temuka teenager
A Temuka couple has enlisted the help of a private investigator to help find their missing teenage son.
The decision to hire the investigator follows four months of no answers for Joeliton and Rosie Santana after their son Yuri went missing in October.
Rosie said she was grateful for the support and help of the police, but wanted to explore all avenues because she was "desperate to find him".
"[The police] can't do anything else," she said.
"They are doing what they can. It is how it is."
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A Givealittle fundraising page, Bringing Yuri Santana Home, has been set up to help pay for the private investigator as the family are on a limited income.
The last unconfirmed sighting of Yuri was just before Christmas. A member of the public saw a person who fitted his description on a track on Richard Pease Rd on December 21, Rosie said.
She described the period through Christmas and New Year as "horrible" and said it was hard getting out of bed.
"It's been such a long time and we haven't heard anything."
Yuri also turned 18 on December 22.
"We usually celebrate both [Christmas and his birthday] at the same time.
"I had no reason to celebrate anything you know. I am devastated."
However, local police turned up on his birthday with morning tea as a gesture of support for the family and to discuss the case.
Rosie said she had previously thought about hiring a private investigator to help find her son. A conversation with a member of New Zealand's Brazilian community prompted her to make a decision last week.
Originally from Brazil, the Santana family have lived in New Zealand for nine years, five of those in South Canterbury.
The Givealittle page said Yuri may have mental health issues.
On Tuesday, $220 had been raised.
Police Sergeant Mike van der Heyden said police were aware that the family had contacted a private detective. He had advised the family he would cover the same ground as police.
People had rung up with sightings of a man who looked like Yuri, but police have been unable to confirm any of them.
Yuri is described as 1.82 metres tall, of medium build with dark hair. He was last seen wearing light blue shorts and a light grey zip-up jacket with green stripes on the sleeves.