Disappearance of missing backpacker in Auckland being treated as murder

Grace Millane

Auckland Police are questioning a man about the murder ot British backpacker Grace Millane.

More than two dozen police officers have been investigating the 22-year-old's disappearance since she was reported missing earlier this week.

DI Beard said on Saturday: "Sadly the evidence we have gathered at this point of the inquiry has established that this is a homicide".

"Grace's family has been advised of this development and they are devastated".

Speaking about the "location of interest" being searched at the hotel, he added: "I understand there will be lots of questions about what we are doing at the Citylife and exactly why we are there".

Miss Millane's body has not yet been found, but Det Insp Beard said police were "determined to do all we can to find her".

"Just after 3pm this afternoon a 26-year-old man was located at a central Auckland address by police police", Detective Inspector Scott Bread has told media.

The revelation follows a forensic examination of a hotel where she was last seen on Saturday 1 December with a "male companion".

Her passport, a pale pink Casio Baby-G watch and necklace have not been found.

Anyone with information about the missing items can contact police on 0800 676 255. He said police were working on reviewing hours of surveillance camera footage from around the city, which has proved crucial in tracking Millane's movements. The concern is that the family have not heard from her and when her 22nd birthday was on 2 December, that's when you'd expect to hear or for them to contact her so that's why there's concern.

Beard said the investigation had progressed rapidly since identifying the last sighting of Millane at CityLife hotel in central Auckland at 9.41pm last Saturday, and the police had received a huge amount of information from the public.

Detectives have since assessed Grace's belongings, which were left at the backpackers where she was staying.

Described as "fun loving, outgoing and [a] family-orientated person", Millane was never out of contact with family and friends for this long, her family said.

New Zealand Police released a CCTV image of Ms Millane on Thursday.

Ms Millane left the United Kingdom six weeks ago to travel the world after finishing university.

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