The parents of missing four-year-old Gisborne boy Lucas Ward are not giving up hope that their son will be found alive.
Jessica and Damon Ward joined Inspector Sam Aberahama, Gisborne Police Area Commander, in appealing for help with sightings of Lucas who disappeared from his grandmother's Graham Road home in Kaiti around 3pm on Tuesday.
An intensive land and water search continues today for Lucas, with the search area likely to be extended in an arc approximately 1km from the Graham Road address.
"The last few days have been awful as we all look for our little boy," his parents said. "Lucas is loved by all of his family and we are missing him dreadfully, especially his eight year old brother Alex and 14 year old sister Raegan.
"We are incredibly grateful for all the wonderful support from people in the community and support from friends and family internationally. The response from caring people is keeping our hopes up. We desperately want to find him and are not giving up that Lucas will soon be back with us."
Eight police dive squad members have spent a second day searching the Waimata River in case Lucas has slipped into the waterway. So far their search has been without success and they have extended the search both upstream and downstream from the jetty.
Inspector Aberahama said police are following up sightings of a child that could have been Lucas in Kaiti between 3pm and shortly after 5.30pm on Tuesday. Police are making door to door inquiries throughout Kaiti, and revisiting homes where necessary.
"We must remain optimistic of finding Lucas but as time passes we also acknowledge our concern for the wellbeing of this little boy. He is a smart wee boy who could be looking for a way home.
"We have no indication of foul play, but are very worried that Lucas has had an accident, could be lying injured somewhere or has got trapped somewhere. It's really important that people continue to check their properties, sheds, vehicles, boats or other places that curious kids might hide.
"Please help us find Lucas. If you have information please call us."
Media contact: Kris McGehan, Eastern Police District Communications Manager, mobile: 027 222 3638