Backpacker's family 'devastated' as police say she was murdered

Nellie Chapman
December 8, 2018

A week of fading hopes for British backpacker Grace Millane has come to a devastating end with police saying they believe she has been murdered - although no body has been found.

He added: "Today were have identified and secured a vehicle of interest, and we are now making enquiries to find out exactly where that vehicle has been".

Detective Inspector Scott Beard, from Auckland City Police, said at a press conference today: "Grace is no longer alive and this is a murder investigation".

Grace Millane, 22, was last seen entering the CityLife hotel in Auckland with a male, The Guardian reported.

David Millane arrived in New Zealand on Friday morning, after the family raised the alert earlier in the week, having not heard from Grace since Saturday (December 1) - which he said was unusual.

Grace Millane was last seen at the city center of Auckland around 7 pm December 1.

Mr Beard said Ms Millane's passport, necklace and watch were still missing and police wanted anyone with information on these or anything else to get in touch on 0800 676 255.

He added the "thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace's family tonight".

Ms Millane, from Essex, graduated from university in September and had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip.

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

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"The family are devastated, everybody who is a parent out there will understand what this family is going through". Local police were eager to find her and return her to her family, but new evidence has changed the course of the case.

Millane, the daughter of English property developer David Millane, had not been seen since leaving her hostel in Auckland last Saturday.

Police continue to offer support to the Millane family, both in New Zealand and in the UK.

"We know that he [the 26-year-old man] was with her on the Saturday evening and went to a number of places before going to the CityLife Hotel".

That was especially so for David Millane, as police had met the distraught father, but also for other family in the United Kingdom, including Millane's mother Gillian, unable to travel to New Zealand because she was recovering from an operation.

Grace Millane's belongings, including a necklace and a Baby-G watch.

"I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to anybody who has seen, spoken to, come into contact with Grace over the last few days and come forward with any detail, no matter how small", he said.

They are trawling through hours of CCTV footage to trace her movements.

"As a family we have been extremely concerned for her welfare", he said.

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