Please find Grace

Fa­ther’s ap­peal over miss­ing back­packer

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Eleanor Ainge Roy Frances Per­raudin

The fa­ther of the miss­ing 22-year-old Bri­tish back­packer Grace Mil­lane has made an emo­tional ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion that might help find his daugh­ter.

New Zealand po­lice said they have grave fears for Mil­lane, who dis­ap­peared from cen­tral Auck­land on Satur­day. Mil­lane’s fa­ther, David, ar­rived in Auck­land on Thurs­day and is­sued a plea for peo­ple to come for­ward with any in­for­ma­tion.

“Grace is a lovely, out­go­ing, funlov­ing, fam­ily-ori­en­tated daugh­ter,” he said. “Grace has never been out of con­tact for this amount of time. She’s usu­ally in daily con­tact with ei­ther her mother, my­self, her broth­ers or mem­bers of the fam­ily on so­cial me­dia.”

Mil­lane’s fa­ther said she had been “bom­bard­ing [the fam­ily] with nu­mer­ous pho­to­graphs and mes­sages of her ad­ven­tures” but that she stopped con­tact­ing them on Satur­day.

“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.

Po­lice said the miss­ing per­son in­ves­ti­ga­tion was pro­gress­ing rapidly and 20 po­lice of­fi­cers work­ing over­time had tracked Mil­lane en­ter­ing the four-star City Life Ho­tel on Queen Street in cen­tral Auck­land at 9.41pm on 1 De­cem­ber with a male com­pan­ion. It is the last con­firmed sight­ing of her.

Po­lice have iden­ti­fied and ques­tioned the man en­ter­ing the ho­tel with Mil­lane, and he re­mains a per­son of in­ter­est but he has not been taken into cus­tody.

A team of foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors are ex­am­in­ing an apart­ment in the ho­tel and po­lice of­fi­cers are con­tin­u­ing to re­view hours of CCTV footage of in­nercity Auck­land and the ho­tel build­ing.

Det Insp Scott Beard, of the Auck­land city po­lice, ap­pealed for any­one who had been in or near the City Life ho­tel at the time of Mil­lane’s dis­ap­pear­ance to con­tact po­lice.

“It has now been six days since Grace was last seen, and at this point we hold grave fears for her safety,” he said. “At present we have spo­ken to a per­son and we still have no ev­i­dence of foul play. Grace is still miss­ing.”

Po­lice said they were wait­ing for Bri­tish banks to re­spond to re­quests for in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing any ac­tiv­ity on Grace’s bank cards and ac­counts.

Mil­lane, who is from Es­sex and grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Lin­coln with a de­gree in advertising and mar­ket­ing in Septem­ber, was part way through a year-long round-the­world trip. She ar­rived in New Zealand on 20 Novem­ber, fol­low­ing a six-week group visit to South Amer­ica.

She was trav­el­ling alone and stay­ing in back­pack­ers’ ac­com­mo­da­tion in cen­tral Auck­land, where she was due to stay un­til 8 De­cem­ber be­fore vis­it­ing other parts of the coun­try fol­lowed by a visit to Aus­tralia.

On Tues­day, Mil­lane’s brother De­clan posted on Face­book that the fam­ily had not heard from Grace since Satur­day 1 De­cem­ber and asked peo­ple to share an ap­peal for her where­abouts.

Speak­ing to New Zealand TV sta­tion The Pro­ject NZ on Thurs­day, he said: “We raised our con­cerns on Mon­day 3 De­cem­ber with lo­cal po­lice and the em­bassy in New Zealand. They’ve been noth­ing but help­ful. We just urge you please to bring my sis­ter home.”

Her be­long­ings were left in her room at the Base Back­pack­ers hos­tel on Queen Street. She was last seen at the hos­tel on Satur­day morn­ing. Po­lice re­leased CCTV im­ages of Mil­lane leav­ing the Sky City casino in Auck­land at around 7.15pm on Satur­day.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: UNI­VER­SAL NEWS AND SPORT

A re­cent grad­u­ate, Grace Mil­lane, dis­ap­peared in Auck­land, where she was cap­tured on CCTV, on 1 De­cem­ber

PHO­TO­GRAPH: HANNAH PETERS/GETTY

David Mil­lane joined po­lice in New Zealand yesterday to is­sue an ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion about his miss­ing daugh­ter

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