Missing British backpacker Grace Millane, 22, is believed to have been found dead in bushland in New Zealand.
DI Scott Beard said formal identification was yet to take place, although ‘based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days we expect that this is Grace’.
Grace was last seen in Auckland on December 1, where she was seen at a hotel with a ‘male companion’.
A 26-year-old man, believed to be her Tinder date, has been charged with murder.
DI Beard said: ‘The 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.
‘Obviously this brings the search for Grace to an end. It is an unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them.’
Her body was found near a country road around 12 miles west of the city centre.
Two large blue and white tents had been erected and investigators wearing white overalls were seen nearby.
Her family have been left ‘devastated’ by the development, Auckland City Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard said.
Ms Millane, from Essex, was described as a ‘lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter’ by her father, David Millane.
She graduated from the University of Lincoln in September with a degree in advertising and marketing and had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip.
After visiting Peru she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been near-daily contact with her family until December 1 – the day before her 22nd birthday.
The last confirmed sighting of Ms Millane was at 9.41pm the same day at the Citylife Hotel in central Auckland, when she was seen with a ‘male companion’.
Police have not uncovered any evidence the pair had met before.
Asked if they had met on the Tinder dating app, DI Beard said: ‘I’m not going to speculate on how they met. The issue here is Grace is still missing and we want to find her.’
Detectives seized a ‘vehicle of interest’ on Saturday and inquiries were under way to establish where it had been.
Earlier searches of Ms Millane’s accommodation at a backpackers’ hostel found several items, including her passport, were missing.
On Saturday police released images of a pink watch and a necklace belonging to her and asked for the public’s help in finding them.
The major police search and public campaign for information led to dozens of calls being made to a hotline.
‘I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace’s family tonight,’ DI Beard said.
‘I want to reassure everyone, both here and abroad, that New Zealand Police are determined to do everything we can to find her.’