The father of missing backpacker Grace Millane issued an emotional appeal to help find his “lovely, outgoing, fun-loving and family-orientated daughter”.
As previously reported, the University of Lincoln graduate failed to return to her hostel in Auckland, New Zealand. Family and friends have sent a desperate plea around the globe to help find her.
Her bother Michael’s Facebook appeal was shared over 43,000 times.
Police in New Zealand revealed the last known sighting of the 22-year-old.
She was last seen at 9.41pm during the evening of December 1 at Citylife Hotel with a male companion.
New Zealand Police added they have now identified and spoken to this man. In addition, an apartment in the Citylife hotel in Queen Street is due to be examined for a second time.
They added they have “grave fears for her safety”.
More than 25 police staff are now assigned to the investigation and will continue to review CCTV footage.
“We are all extremely upset”
Grace’s father David Millane issued an emotional appeal during a police press conference:
“As you all know, Grace has been missing for several days. We last had contact with Grace on Saturday, December 1 and as a family we have been extremely concerned for her welfare.
“Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter. Grace has never been out of contact for this amount of time and is usually in daily contact with either her mother, myself or her two brothers.
“Grace is on a year-long worldwide overseas experience. Grace started this travel journey in Peru in South America and was really looking forward to the second leg in New Zealand. She arrived here on November 20 and has bombarded us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures.
“We are all extremely upset and it is very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are all going through.
“While we are very grateful for the media coverage both here and back home, we are finding this situation quite upsetting and would sincerely hope that media continue to respect our privacy.
“Finally, I would just like to take this opportunity to appeal to anybody who has seen, spoken to, or come into contact with Grace over the last few days, to come forward with any detail, no matter how small, and contact the investigation team.”
The family has also set up a Facebook page – Help Find Grace – to assist with the search.
Investigation progressing rapidly
Detective Inspector Scott Beard of Auckland City Police said: “The investigation into the disappearance of English tourist Grace Millane is progressing rapidly.
“Since she was first reported missing on Wednesday, we have made multiple enquiries as we continue the search for Grace.
“As part of our investigation we have reviewed hours and hours of CCTV footage and this will continue throughout the weekend.
“We now have the last known sighting of Grace at 9.41pm at the Citylife Hotel, on Saturday December 1 with a male companion.
“Police have identified this man and he has been spoken to.
“Through our investigations we have also identified a location of interest – an apartment in the Citylife hotel in Queen Street.
“We are conducting a scene examination at this address. I understand there will be lots of questions about what we are doing at the Citylife and exactly why we are there, however this is an ongoing investigation and I am not able to discuss this aspect further at this point in time.
“Grace is a much-loved daughter, sister and friend. It has now been six days since Grace was last seen. At this point, we hold grave fears for her safety.
“The investigation will continue throughout the weekend. Anyone who was at the Citylife hotel who can provide any information to Police should call the investigation team on 0800 676 255.”