Missing Backpacker Grace Millane Case Is Now being Treated As Suspected Murder

Grace Millane: Police start murder inquiry

Grace Millane: Police start murder inquiry

The 26-year-old man was questioned by detectives after he was traced by police to at an address in central Auckland on Saturday afternoon.

Scott Beard, the Auckland Police's detective inspector, said he could not confirm if Millane left the hotel.

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

"We still do no know where Grace is".

"I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace's family tonight and I want to reassure both everyone here and overseas that New Zealand police are determined to do everything we can to find her".

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

New Zealand Police said the man will remain in custody until Monday morning, when he will appear in the Auckland District Court.

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

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

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

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

"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".

Police have not uncovered any evidence the pair had met before.




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

Detectives seized a "vehicle of interest" on Saturday and inquiries were under way to establish where it had been.

Before she vanished, she was staying at the Base Backpackers hostel in Auckland.

Beard said "that property is going to be somewhere, the clothing is going to be somewhere, we haven't found it".

She graduated from the University of Lincoln in September and had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip.

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

They revealed yesterday that their investigations included questioning the man who was with Millane when she was last seen.

"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".

Ms Millane, from Essex, was described as a "lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter" by her father, David Millane. Grace has never been out of contact for this amount of time and is usually in daily contact with either her mother, myself or her two brothers.

Auckland City Police said it received a missing person's report on Wednesday.

"Many of these calls have been from members of the public, offering accommodation and assistance to the Millane family".

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

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