Published: Sun, December 09, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

British backpacker's disappearance in New Zealand being treated as suspected murder

British backpacker's disappearance in New Zealand being treated as suspected murder

The disappearance of a British backpacker in New Zealand is being treated as murder, police have said.

Beard said he had no evidence to suggest Millane knew the man before Saturday night but detectives knew they were together from the time she was captured on CCTV footage at SkyCity to the time she was seen at the CityLife Hotel.

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

Beard said they "still do not know where Grace is" but they were "determined to find her and return her to her family".

Asked why police were now treating Millane's disappearance as a murder, Beard said it was a combination of factors.

"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".

According to the Essex Live local news website, Millane stopped responding to WhatsApp messages from her family on Saturday 1 December.

A search effort was launched after she was reported missing on December 5.

She was traveling alone when visiting New Zealand and had been staying at the Base Backpackers hostel in Auckland.

Her father, David Millane, said they last had contact on the day she vanished.

Earlier in the day police released photographs of a necklace and a watch in the hopes of finding her whereabouts.

The man Millane was seen with was taken into the central Auckland police station on Saturday afternoon for questioning.

Ms Millane was in New Zealand on a gap year, having arrived in the country on November 20.

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

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

'Several of her belongings, including her passport, are missing and police believe it is likely Grace has these items with her'.

"Of course it's tough, everyone who is a parent out there will understand and appreciate what that family is going through", Beard said.

Her father travelled to New Zealand to help search for his 22-year-old daughter whose body has not yet been found.

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