New Zealand police find body they believe is British tourist

New Zealand police find body they believe is British tourist
A police officer investigating the murder of British tourist Grace Millane stands at a crime scene along a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges outside Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. New Zealand police said Saturday, Dec. 8, that they believe the 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning. (Doug Sherring/New Zealand Herald via AP) (Doug Sherring)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand police said Sunday they found a body they believe to be that of missing 22-year-old British tourist Grace Millane.

Police said the body was in a forested area about 10 meters (33 feet) from the side of the road in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland.

Tourist Grace Millane has been missing since Dec. 1, and failed to contact her family on her birthday Dec. 2.

On Saturday, a 26-year-old man was charged with murder in her case after he was detained for questioning. He is due to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Millane was on a planned yearlong trip abroad that began in Peru. She arrived in New Zealand last month and was last seen entering a central Auckland hotel with a man on the evening of Dec. 1.

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 Ranges outside Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. New Zealand police said Saturday, Dec. 8, that they believe the 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning. (Doug Sherring/New Zealand Herald via AP)
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 Ranges outside Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. New Zealand police said Saturday, Dec. 8, that they believe the 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning. (Doug Sherring/New Zealand Herald via AP) (AP)

Detective Inspector Scott Beard told reporters near the crime scene in the Waitakare Ranges that police believe Millane's body was taken to the area in a rental car that was later left in the town of Taupo.

Police spent several hours searching the area, which they cordoned off and where they put up a tent, before making the announcement.

"This area was identified late last night as a location of interest as a result of our investigative work," Beard said. "I can now advise that a short time ago, we located a body, which we believe to be Grace. A formal identification process will now take place, however, based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days, we expect that this is Grace."

Millane's father David Millane traveled from Britain to New Zealand last week.

"It is an unbearable time for the Millane family, and our hearts go out to them," Beard said.

FILE - This Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, CCTV file image released by New Zealand Police shows 22-year-old English tourist Grace Millane in central Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand police said Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 that they believe the 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning. The image was captured on Saturday night, about 7:15 p.m. and is the last known sighting of Millane, whose 22nd birthday was the next day. (NZ Police via AP, File)
FILE - This Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, CCTV file image released by New Zealand Police shows 22-year-old English tourist Grace Millane in central Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand police said Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 that they believe the 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning. The image was captured on Saturday night, about 7:15 p.m. and is the last known sighting of Millane, whose 22nd birthday was the next day. (NZ Police via AP, File) (AP)

Before she vanished, Millane had been staying at a backpacker hostel in Auckland, and she left some of her belongings there. Beard said she met a man for a couple of hours on the evening of Dec. 1 before surveillance cameras showed them entering the CityLife hotel at about 9:40 p.m.

Her family was surprised and worried when she didn't contact them on her birthday or get in touch over on the days that followed.

After arriving in New Zealand on Friday, David Millane spoke with media.

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-oriented daughter," he said, adding that she was usually in touch with her family every day.

"She arrived here on the 20th of November, and has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures," Millane said. "We are all extremely upset, and it's very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are going through."

Detective Inspector Scott Beard addresses a press conference announcing the search for missing English backpacker Grace Millane is now a homicide investigation in Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The 22-year-old British tourist has been missing in New Zealand for seven days and police say they believe she has been murdered — although no body has been found. (Doug Sherring/NZ Herald via AP)
Detective Inspector Scott Beard addresses a press conference announcing the search for missing English backpacker Grace Millane is now a homicide investigation in Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The 22-year-old British tourist has been missing in New Zealand for seven days and police say they believe she has been murdered — although no body has been found. (Doug Sherring/NZ Herald via AP) (AP)