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Missing teenager: ‘We’re not sure whether he is still alive’

Tuesday 15 November 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Editor's Pick, Features, Local, National


Missing teenager: ‘We’re not sure whether he is still alive’
Tekemau Kokoria holds up a photo of his son who has been missing since July 24. Picture: CALEB FOTHERINGHAM/22111414

Parents of a 19-year-old male who has been missing since late July fear their son is dead.

Timoa Kokoria, 19, from Arorangi has been missing since July 24. The last official sighting was when his relative dropped him off at a Rutaki bus stop at around 3pm after Timoa had been drinking.

In an interview with Cook Islands News, Timoa’s parents, Tekemau Kokoria and Rakoake Teaitao, both said the lack of contact from their son was unusual.

“(This has) never happened, if he went drinking with a friend he rings us, he contacts us. ‘I’m over here mum’, like that, but now, nothing at all,” Teaitao said.

“If he’s gone to a friend he would tell us, he would let us know.

“We’re not sure whether he is still alive.”

Teaitao said she was not sure why he had not returned.

She said Timoa could not have left the country because his passport was still with her. She said that Timoa also spent a lot of time on his phone but had not been seen active on Facebook since he went missing.

Teaitao said she and her husband started getting worried after the second day of their son’s disappearance and reported the matter to Police.   

“Police tried to help us but nothing happened,” she said.

Initially, Teaitao said police regularly visited their house to ask if Timoa had returned, but, the latest visit apart from last Saturday “was a month or two ago”.

“I’m sure they’re trying their best like us,” she said.

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt on Monday said: “Police received a sighting report of this person after the date he was reported missing. And was said to be okay.”

According to the parents, soon after their son went missing someone said they spotted Timoa at the beach.

There was also a report of him being spotted at the Constitution Celebrations in August. The most recent alleged sighting was Wednesday last week, when someone said they saw Timoa driving a motorbike, Kokoria told Cook Islands News.

However, Kokoria thinks the sightings could have been someone else. 

“For me maybe it’s not him, because nobody else sees him, how come no one else seen him,” he said.

On Facebook page, Rarotonga Community and Beyond, Clare Samson-Piniata, who is Timoa’s aunt, said the family needed answers from the Police.

“What is going on? I see post of people being rescued from the mountain. But I see no progress of my nephew being found ... Are you doing your job?” she posted over the weekend.

“Help me understand why the family has no answer?”

Responding to the post, police inspector, Maevarangi Kirikava said: “Police received this incident and this was given an urgent priority. Police search team led by detectives conducted a search and house to house checks within the area. Police received several information and exhausted every last one.”

Kokoria and Teaitao said they would like the communities help in finding their son.

In a message to his son, Kokoria asked Timoa to “please come home”.

“We are waiting for you, it’s been three months now turning to four, we’re still thinking of you all the time,” he said.

Teaitao also asked for her son to return.

“Please come home or ring us.”

Timoa immigrated with his family to the Cook Islands from Kiribati in 2009. He was previously working at The Rarotongan.