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

Grace Millane

New Zealand Police said a 26-year-old man has been speaking with officers in Auckland in relation to the disappearance of the 22-year-old, who went missing from a hostel in Auckland on December 1.

Her family have been left "devastated" by the development, Auckland City Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard said.

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

Ms Millane was last seen at CityLife Hotel in Auckland at 9:41pm on December 1, accompanied by the 26-year-old man.

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

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

Her other belongings had remained this week at Base Backpackers, where she had been booked in to stay until today.

"We still do not know where Grace is", Detective Inspector Beard said.

"All I can say is that we know they were together from the time at the Sky City Hotel".

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Police said they brought that man into the central Auckland police station on Saturday afternoon for questioning.

David Millane, father of missing British tourist Grace Millane, speaks to the media as police give updates on the investigation.

The major police search and public campaign for information led to dozens of calls being made to a hotline.

Meanwhile, the scene examination at the Citylife hotel is continuing as detectives review hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

Beard wouldn't say whether police had seen footage of the man leaving CityLife Hotel or if he thought Millane was killed in the hotel, a large apartment-style complex.

Earlier in the day police released photographs of a necklace and a watch in the hopes of finding her whereabouts. "Our thoughts are with her family at this bad time".

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter", Mr Millane said on Friday.

"There's family back in the United Kingdom and our hearts go out to them as well".

He said: "I would just 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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