Bid to solve mystery of missing solo father

A fresh search is about to begin for a father of two whose disappearance 21 months ago continues to baffle family, friends and police.

In February last year Siegfried Newman, a 49-year-old German-born lab technician, dropped his boys at primary school near Katikati, Bay of Plenty, and then disappeared.

In spite of an extensive search at the time around Mr Newman's Lund Rd house, and nearby Kaimai Range, no trace has been found.

Tauranga police will resume the hunt this weekend, going over the same area as part of a search and rescue exercise.

"We haven't been given any new tipoffs," said Senior Sergeant Craig Madden.

"I've been wanting for some time to use a search and rescue exercise with a real search scenario, and this is a good opportunity to do so." He said he was mystified as to what had happened to Mr Newman, who lost his wife Vicki-Lee to cancer four months before he vanished.

The couple had been married for 12 years. Mr Newman was very depressed after her death in 2007, Mr Madden said. "Anything is possible, of course, but I personally believe because he was depressed he wanted time out and has gone into the bush and possibly met with a mishap, like fallen down a creek bed and not able to get out."

The two-day search will involve 62 police, search and rescue volunteers and Tauranga 4WD club members. A cadaver dog will also be used. "One thing is for certain – we will be searching for the remains of a body," Mr Madden said.

Bay of Plenty Deerstalkers Association president Stan Lowe knew Mr Newman through the sports club. He is adamant Mr Newman did not commit suicide.

"I'd be very surprised he has done himself in," he said. "It's not impossible, but what I knew of him he wouldn't do that. He was a good guy and I and my wife got close to him after his wife died. He told us he would live for his kids, that they were his life. I'm still surprised by the claims of what has happened to him.

"He was capable in the bush, and he could walk all day, so I don't think he got lost, and he left his rifle at home, so what does that tell you?"

Mr Newman's two sons, Thomas, 10, and Oliver, 8, now live with his wife's relatives in Wellington.

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