Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Grace Millane disappearance now a homicide investigation, police say

Grace Millane disappearance now a homicide investigation, police say

The father of a British woman who was last seen entering a New Zealand hotel Saturday made a tearful plea for help Friday - but police said they have "grave fears" about the case. "We are determined to find her and return her to her family".

Evidence they had found had indicated Grace was no longer alive, Beard said.

Beard said the investigation had progressed rapidly since identifying the last sighting of Millane at CityLife hotel in central Auckland at 9.41pm last Saturday, and the police had received a huge amount of information from the public.

"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 overseas that New Zealand Police are determined to do everything we can to find her", he said.

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

Earlier on Saturday, police said some of Millane's belongings, including her passport, a pale pink Casio Baby-G watch and a silver necklace with a green stone in the middle, were missing from the hostel she was staying at.

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

Ms Millane was in New Zealand on a gap year, having arrived in the country on November 20.

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

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

Grace Millane: Police start murder inquiry

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

"We know that he was with her on the Saturday evening and went to a number of places before going to the Citylife Hotel", he told reporters.

Described as "fun loving, outgoing and [a] family-orientated person", Millane was never out of contact with family and friends for this long, her family said.

Asked if they had met on the Tinder dating app, the detective said: "I'm not going to speculate on how they met. This issue here is Grace is still missing and we want to find her".

She had daily contact with her loved ones via social media but her father, David Millane, said the family last heard from her on December 1.

Earlier in the day police released photographs of a necklace and a watch in the hopes of finding her whereabouts.

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

Police believe Millane may have the items with her.

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

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