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Global manhunt underway for 11-year-old New Zealand boy

  • Lauren Smith, from New Zealand, fled country with her son Nicholas, say police
  • Interpol and overseas agencies have joined the desperate search for 11-year-old 
  • Ms Smith has been charged with unlawfully taking her son and leaving country 

A global manhunt is underway for an 11-year-old boy who was allegedly kidnapped by his mother.

Lauren Smith, from Tirau, New Zealand, fled the country with her son Nicholas Way on 9 February, detectives believe. 

Interpol and overseas agencies have joined the desperate search as New Zealand police refuse to comment on reports the pair boarded a plane to Zimbabwe.

Lauren Smith

An international manhunt is underway for a mother who allegedly kidnapped her 11-year-old son (both pictured)

Ms Smith has been charged with unlawfully taking her son and leaving New Zealand with intent to deprive a parent having the lawful care or charge of a person.

The 40-year-old failed to show up at Hamilton District Court today to face the charge which carries a maximum sentence of seven years. 

The boy’s father, James Way, declined to comment when contacted by The New Zealand Herald.

It is understood Ms Smith changed her surname back from Way to Smith in 2014 and updated her address to Warwick in the United Kingdom at the same time.  

‘Police believe Ms Way left the country with her 11-year-old son and we are working with Interpol and overseas law enforcement to locate them,’ said Detective Sergeant Terri Wilson of the Hamilton Child Protection Team.

‘This is obviously a stressful time for the family and Police are appealing to Ms Smith and anyone close to her to make contact with New Zealand Police in order to ensure that her son is safe and to resolve this matter as soon as possible.

‘Ultimately we would like Ms Smith to return back to New Zealand immediately with her son or to contact local law enforcement where she is staying, so that we can facilitate the safe return of her son back to New Zealand.’

Anyone with information on Ms Smith and her son’s whereabouts is asked to contact Hamilton Police on (07) 858 6200 or they can report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.   

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