Disappearance of missing backpacker in Auckland being treated as murder

Grace Millane

New Zealand police said Saturday that they believe a 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning.

"A 26-year-old man located in Auckland was speaking with police about the murder and a vehicle of interest had been secured".

DI Beard said police have released images of Ms Millane's watch and necklace and that her passport is also missing.

"Grace's family have been advised of this development and they are devastated", Det Insp Beard added.

"We are all extremely upset and it is very hard at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are all going through".

Father John Corbyn, of Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Wickford, where the Millane family lives said she was well known in the community.

Searches have also been carried out at the backpackers' accommodation where she was staying.

News of the murder inquiry comes hours after Millane's family said they were "staying very positive" as the search for her continued.

Ms Millane, 22, from Essex, England, was last seen at an Auckland hotel almost a week ago.

Her birthday was on Sunday, but she didn't contact her family.

Local police were eager to find her and return her to her family, but new evidence has changed the course of the case.

'She arrived here on the 20th of November and has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures, ' Mr Millane said.

The Essex woman had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip following her university graduation.

Police say Grace Millane was last spotted entering CityLife hotel in Auckland's CBD with a man on Saturday.

Police want the public to help find this necklace belonging to backpacker Grace Millane.

Asked if they had met on the Tinder dating app, the detective said: "I'm not going to speculate on how they met".

Members of Millane's family have made appeals on Facebook for information.

"We were praying for her while she was missing, and then of course. the sad realisation that she wasn't missing any longer, as it were".

The Millane family are working with the Lucie Blackman Trust, which supports families of people in crisis overseas.

"The family is devastated, everybody who is a parent out there will understand what this family is going through".

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