A missing teenager’s mother has taken to social media to reassure her son’s friends that she doesn’t blame them for his disappearance.
Zac Barnes, 18, hasn’t been seen since he ran from his friend’s car near Thornton railway station more than a week ago.
Multiple searches of the area have failed to locate the apprentice bricklayer from Metford.
After a public appeal for help to find her son on Tuesday, Karen Gudelj posted a message of support for Zac’s mates on Facebook.
She wrote on the public page that Zac had been at his friends’ house on November 13 when an unwanted visitor distressed him, so one of the friends offered to drive him “wherever he wanted to go”.
Ms Gudelj said she believed Zac’s plan was to catch a train to Hamilton to see his brother. But it was on the way to the station that Zac asked his friend to stop the car.
“Reluctantly, his friend stopped the car. Zac got out of the car and just took off [at] a hundred miles an hour towards the bush and just disappeared,” Ms Gudelj wrote.
“His friend is devastated about the whole thing, not knowing why Zac was so distraught. I have the upmost respect for his friend – a hard working young man with a heart of gold.
“Yes, there is something very strange but it has nothing to do with the drivers of the car.”
A second search of scrub and swampland in the Thornton area failed to uncover any major clues about Zac’s whereabouts on Monday.
Central Hunter Inspector Glenn Blain said the effort was “part of the normal search process” and had not been prompted by a tip-off.
The search party covered a more expansive area than last week’s initial response, after door-knocks at Thornton and checks with Hunter hospitals did not provide a breakthrough.
"We conducted the first search last week, we are conducting a more extensive grid search of the area [on Monday],” Inspector Blain said.
"We are still appealing to members of the public who may have seen him to contact police or Crime Stoppers [1800 333 000].”
Fairfax Media reported on Tuesday that Ms Gudelj asked anyone who may see Zac to contact police rather than approach him.
He is of Caucasian appearance, between 180cm to 185cm tall, of thin build, with brown hair and brown eyes and a tattoo of a VB logo on his right calf. He was last seen wearing a faded blue singlet, dark blue board shorts and work boots.