Police investigating area of interest in Grace Millane case

A map of the area where police are searching for Grace Millane

A map of the area where police are searching for Grace Millane

Det Insp Scott Beard said a scene examination was under way at a bush area on Scenic Drive, a countryside road on the outskirts of Auckland.

Police have said the examination is a "methodical and slow process and is expected to take all day".

"Grace's family have been advised of this development and they are devastated".

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

Police said there was no suggestion Millane previously knew the man she was seen entering the hotel with, but would not speculate on how they met.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard will provide an update from the cordon at 4:30pm (3:30am GMT).

"We are not able to confirm whether Grace has been located at this site", he said.

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Millane was on a year-long worldwide holiday after graduating from university and had kept in daily contact with her family until the night before her 22nd birthday last weekend.

Fighting back tears, he spoke to media about the "lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter" who had been so looking forward to going to New Zealand and had "bombarded us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures" since arriving.

A map of the area where police are searching for Grace Millane.

A 26-year-old man now being held by police is to be charged with killing Miss Millane, 22, from Essex.

CCTV footage captured Millane leaving Andy's Burgers & Bar, on the first level of Sky City, at 7.15pm last Saturday, December 1.

Asked why police were now treating Millane's disappearance as a murder, Beard said it was a combination of factors.

She was staying at the Base Backpackers hostel in central Auckland before she went missing.

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