Suspect to be charged with murder of missing British backpacker Grace Millane

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New Zealand police confirmed on Saturday that the search for missing British backpacker Grace Millane is now a homicide investigation.

"We now have a last known sighting of Grace at 9.41pm at the Citylife Hotel, on Saturday, December 1, with a male companion".

Officers in Auckland have been speaking to a 26-year-old man in connection to her disappearance and he will remain in custody until Monday morning, when he will appear in the Auckland District Court.

DI Beard said on Saturday: "Sadly the evidence we have gathered at this point of the inquiry has established that this is a homicide".

"We are determined to find her and return her to her family".

"We still don't know where Grace is".

"I want to reassure the public police are determined to do everything we can to find her".

Millane had been in New Zealand for two weeks, the UK's Press Association news agency reported.

Grace Millane, the 22-year old daughter of British millionaire property developer David Millane, arrived in New Zealand on November 20 as part of the round-the-world trip she embarked on after graduating from the University of London.

Police investigating the murder of British tourist Grace Millane stand by a cordoned off crime scene along a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere
Police investigating the murder of British tourist Grace Millane stand by a cordoned off crime scene along a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere

"I want to reassure everyone, both here and overseas, that New Zealand Police are determined to do everything we can to find her".

Earlier searches of Millane's accommodation at a backpackers' hostel found several items, including her passport, were missing.

Auckland City Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard said evidence they had located so far told them Grace was "no longer alive".

Following that, police identified the man and spoke to him on Friday.

Prior to her dissapearance, Grace had been in contact with her family everyday and concerns were raised when she didn't respond to birthday messages on Sunday December 2.

Grace Millane's belongings, including a necklace and a Baby-G watch. "The issue here is Grace is still missing and we want to find her".

Asked if they had met on the Tinder dating app, the detective said: "I'm not going to speculate on how they met".

Earlier in the day police released photographs of a necklace and a watch in the hopes of finding her whereabouts. Members of Millane's family have made appeals on Facebook for information.

Grace has not been in contact with her family for about a week now.

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