Missing British backpacker case is now a murder investigation in New Zealand

New Zealand police said Grace Millane was murdered by a man will be charged with murder

The 22-year-old from Essex hasn't been seen since she entered downtown Auckland's CityLife Hotel in the company of a 26-year-old man last Saturday evening.

Police said they were still looking for Ms Millane, although evidence pointed to the fact she had been killed.

In the statement issued on Saturday, Millane's family praised Auckland police "who have been outstanding in their support and efforts in helping to find Grace".

In a tearful press conference on Friday, Miss Millane's father, who has travelled to Auckland to help with investigations, said his family are "extremely concerned" for her welfare.

"We now have a last known sighting of Grace at 9.41pm at the Citylife Hotel, on Saturday, December 1, with a male companion".

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

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which has been supporting Millane's family, posted on its Facebook page that they were "incredibly saddened" by the police announcement.

She failed to check in with family, which is very out of character for her, they say.

Earlier today, police investigating the disappearance of English tourist Grace Millane released photographs of jewellery that is missing from the backpackers where she was staying.

A British backpacker missing in New Zealand since last weekend was murdered, police said.

'Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving and family orientated daughter'.

A 26-year-old man is being questioned by detectives after he was located at an address in central Auckland on Saturday afternoon.

Grace Millane’s father David Millane spoke to reporters on Friday Dec. 7 2018
Grace Millane’s father David Millane spoke to reporters on Friday Dec. 7 2018

He added that Ms Millane's family were "devastated" by the development and said: "We still do not know where Grace is".

Det Insp Beard confirmed today that the man being questioned by police on Saturday was the same individual.

The British backpacker, who graduated from the University of Lincoln in September, had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks.

DI Beard said the investigation into Grace's disappearance was "progressing rapidly".

She had daily contact with her loved ones via social media but her father, David Millane, said the family last heard from her on December 1.

Despite a major police search and public campaign for information, no further sightings of the backpacker have been confirmed.

"Grace is still missing and we want to find her", he added.

"I'm not going to speculate on how they met", he said.

She had booked to stay at the Base Backpackers hostel in central Auckland until 8 December.

Millane's father David, a millionaire property developer, flew into New Zealand early yesterday.

He said: "As part of our investigation, we have reviewed hours and hours of CCTV footage and this will continue throughout the weekend".

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