The father of a Queenstown woman caught up in an alleged kidnapping plot has called for her safe return.
Relieving Otago rural area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen yesterday revealed police were looking for 21-year-old Lilly Boden.
She is believed to be with Joshua Veint, 23, who is wanted in relation to the alleged kidnapping of 22-year-old Queenstown man Joseph Armstrong.
Police said Boden has not been heard from since late last week.
Her father, Mark Boden, tells the Otago Daily Times from his home in Adelaide, Australia, that he first heard of Boden’s disappearance from media reports.
He has a message for her: “We just want you home safe, Lilly.”
Her friends also appealed to her on social media.
“Everything will be fine!! Please come home Lilly!!!!!” one Facebook post read.
Another said “please come home safely”.
Jensen says Miss Boden and Veint were friends.
It is understood she is also known to the alleged kidnapping victim, Armstrong.
Police believe Boden and Veint are together and did not think she’s being held against her will.
Police are still looking for Veint and Pita Wilson, 38, over the alleged kidnapping in the resort last week.
Jensen says: “This matter could be simply and quickly resolved if the pair got in contact with police, either directly or indirectly.
“Although police have received some good information from members of the public, they are still keen to hear from anyone who may have seen Pita Wilson or Joshua Veint, or knows of their whereabouts.”
While neither man posed a risk to the public, they should not be approached, he said.
About 20 specialist staff, including a dog handler, were working on the investigation.
Aerial searches had not been conducted at this stage and police were keeping “an open mind” about the men’s whereabouts – which could include the bush.
“We believe that Mr Wilson is in the Queenstown area and Joshua Veint … we suspect that he’s still within the greater Queenstown area.”
Police are staying in contact with Armstrong, who was found just before midnight on Sunday.
Jensen would not comment on how long Armstrong was allegedly held against his will.
The hunt for Veint and Wilson began on Friday, after an incident last Tuesday at a Queenstown address came to police attention.
Police will not say how the incident came to light, other than it was discovered during another police operation.
Jensen is yet to say what that operation was.
Two men yesterday appeared in the Invercargill District Court in relation to the incident.
Anyone with information which may help police can contact Queenstown police on (03) 441-1600 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555-111.
Additional reporting Tracey Roxburgh, Otago Daily Times