Grace Millane murder inquiry: What we know so far

On Saturday afternoon, police confirmed the tragic case of missing UK tourist Grace Millane is now being treated as a homicide.

The 22-year-old was in New Zealand on an overseas experience, her first solo holiday.

She arrived on Tuesday, November 20, after spending time in South America. During her trip she continually sent her parents and family photographs of her travels, talking to each other every day.

A holiday gone terribly wrong

Her birthday was on Sunday, December 2. She didn't get in contact with her family.

When she didn't contact them on her brother's birthday, only a few days later, alarm bells began to go off. A missing person poster was posted online and shared globally.

CCTV footage saw her enter CityLife Hotel on Queen St on Saturday, December 1, at around 9:41pm, with a man. It was the last confirmed sighting of the backpacker.

Frantic with worry, Ms Millane's father, David Millane, travelled to Auckland. On Friday, December 7, he issued a plea for her safe return.

"We are all extremely upset and it is very difficult at this time to describe the range of emotions we are going through," he said.

A grim development

On Saturday, December 8, Detective Inspector Scott Beard alleged in a press conference that Ms Millane had been murdered.

"Sadly the evidence we have gathered to this point in this inquiry has established that this is a homicide," he said in a press conference.

It's not known whether Ms Millane was killed inside the hotel and Insp Beard did not say how she may have died. A motive is not yet known.

Visibly emotional, Insp Beard said the news is a devastating blow for her UK-based family.

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

Grace Millane.
Grace Millane was on holiday from the UK. Photo credit: NZ Police / Supplied

A 26-year-old man was located by police in central Auckland at around 3pm on Saturday. During the afternoon press conference, Insp Beard confirmed he was the man seen in the CCTV footage.

On Saturday night, Insp Beard said the man will be charged with Ms Millane's murder. He's due to appear in Auckland District Court on Monday morning and remains in police custody.

Insp Beard said they did not yet know how well he knew Ms Millane and wouldn't speculate on how they met.

"He is currently speaking to us in relation to the murder of Grace Millane."

A vehicle of interest has also been located and Insp Beard said they're tracking down where it has been - but he wouldn't describe it to media, only saying that the investigation is still in its early stages.

Ms Millane never returned to her backpacker's lodge and most of her belongings remain there. Her passport, watch and necklace were confirmed missing by police, thought to have been taken with her when she last left.

Grace Millane's necklace is also missing.
Grace Millane's necklace is also missing. Photo credit: NZ Police / Supplied

"That property is going to be somewhere, her clothing will be somewhere, we haven't found it, and somebody may find it somewhere. We don't know what has happened," Insp Beard said.

Her body has not been found, something Insp Beard said they were "determined" to do so they could "return her to her family".

On Sunday afternoon, Insp Beard confirmed they were searching an area at Auckland's Waitakere Ranges. Nearby roads have been closed and are expected to remain shut until around 7pm, with residents allowed through.

He said police were "not able to confirm whether Grace has been located at this site".

A press conference is set to be held at 4:30pm, from the Waitakere Ranges.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 0800 676 255. Insp Beard said they are working through the information they have already been given.


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