Body discovered in Grace Millane homicide investigation

A body has been found in the search for missing tourist Grace Millane.

Police confirmed on Sunday afternoon that a body had been discovered in a bush area of Scenic Dr in the Waitākere Ranges.

Det Insp Scott Beard says the body, found in the bush about 10m off the road, is believed to be that of 22-year-old Ms Millane.

A formal identification and post-mortem will be carried out on Monday, but the evidence strongly suggests it is that of the backpacker who has been missing for a week.

"This is an unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them," Insp Beard told media at the scene.

"The focus now is to piece together exactly what happened to a young girl who came to New Zealand on her OE."

Police have released photos of a 2016 red Toyota Corolla hatchback which was hired from a central Auckland rental company on Sunday, the day after Ms Millane was last heard from.

The car was found in Taupo.

Anyone who saw the vehicle in west Auckland between 6am and 9:30am on Monday, December 3 is urged to contact police on 0800 676 255.

Body discovered in Grace Millane homicide investigation
Photo credit: Newshub

Insp Beard thanked the investigation team who worked on the case, and said Police were pleased to be able to give Ms Millane back to her family.

Her father David Millane was told of the discovery of the body earlier on Sunday afternoon.

"Any father, any parent in this situation will struggle," Insp Beard said.

"I feel for him, I have a daughter in her 20s. We are putting a lot of support around him."

Mr Millane and one of Ms Millane's brothers are currently in New Zealand but the rest of her family is back home in England. 

Ms Millane arrived in New Zealand in late November in the second leg of a year spent backpacking around the world.

Her family became concerned when she failed to check in with them on her birthday on December 2 and police subsequently began searching for her.

It was discovered that she went out to SkyCity on Saturday, December 1 and then arrived at the CityLife hotel on Queen St.

The last known image of her alive is her entering the hotel at 9:41pm that night.

In the week following the search for her disappearance kicked into high gear.  Her father flew over from her home town of Essex, and held an emotional press conference pleading for people to come forward with any information on her disappearance on the afternoon of Friday, December 5.

Insp Beard announced on Saturday, December 6 the investigation into her disappearance had become a homicide investigation.

Insp Beard also revealed a 26-year-old man has been arrested and was speaking to police. It was later announced he would be charged with her murder. He was seen on CCTV with Ms Millane on the night of Saturday, December 1.

Police announced on Sunday that a "location of interest" had been found on Scenic Dr in west Auckland.

A scene examination is expected to take place for all of Sunday and a large section of the road has been closed between 3pm and 7pm.