Police baffled after disappearance of British backpacker
Distraught dad makes tearful Auckland appeal for missing 22-year-old daughter Grace
Father of missing British woman Grace Millane, David Millane, addresses the media in Auckland and appeals for information. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
The father of a young British backpacker missing in New Zealand has flown to the other side of the world to make a tearful plea for information concerning her disappearance.
David Millane said his family was “extremely concerned” for the welfare of his “fun-loving” daughter Grace Millane, who turned 22 on Sunday, following her disappearance nearly a week ago.
The tourist, from Essex, was on a year-long round-the-world trip and had been “bombarding” her loved ones with messages and pictures from her adventure.
But they became concerned when contact with Ms Millane went cold. She was last seen in Auckland at the Citylife Hotel on December 1st at about 10pm local time with a “male companion”.
During an emotional press conference in Auckland, Mr Millane said: “Grace has been missing for seven days. We last had contact with her on Saturday December 1st and as a family we have been extremely concerned for her welfare. “Grace . . . has never been out of contact for this amount of time. She’s usually in daily contact with either her mother, myself, her two brothers or members of the family on social media.”
‘Grave fears for her safety’
Det Insp Scott Beard, of Auckland City Police, said officers had identified and spoken to the “male companion” last seen with Ms Millane.
Mr Beard said officers had also identified an apartment at the city centre hotel as a location of interest.
“It has now been six days since Grace was last seen,” he added. “At this point, we hold grave fears for her safety.”
He added that they “still have no evidence of foul play”.
Mr Millane arrived in New Zealand on Friday morning and told reporters it was unusual for his daughter to be out of contact.
“She has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures. We are all extremely upset and it’s very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are going through,” he said.
Ms Millane arrived in New Zealand on November 20th, having previously visited Peru.
Her last Twitter post appears to be on November 30th, the day before she was last seen.
Police said more than 25 staff are working on the case and were trawling through hours of CCTV footage to trace her movements. – PA