Police are questioning Grace's suspected Tinder date over her disappearance.
She was seen on CCTV going into a hotel with a man she met on the dating app on the night she vanished.
It was thought to be the last sighting of millionaire’s daughter Grace, who was on a gap year trip.
At 4.15am last night, police announced: "this is a homicide", this morning adding they are set to charge him with murder.
Detectives said family were "devastated" by the news.
Detective Inspector Scott Bread said last night: "Just after 3pm this afternoon a 26-year-old man was located at a central Auckland address by police.
"He was brought back to the Auckland Central Police Station and is currently speaking to us in relation to the murder of Grace Millane.
"Sadly the evidence we have gathered to this point of the inquiry has established that this is a homicide.
"Grace's family has been advised of this development and they are devastated. The man is still being spoken to at this point.
He added: "Obviously this means that we are treating Grace's disappearance as a homicide investigation.
"We still do not know where Grace is. We are determined to find her and return her to her family".
Last night detectives revealed several of her possessions, including her passport, are missing.
They were also searching an apartment at the £130-a-night CityLife hotel, 300 yards from a hostel where Grace was booked to stay.
Officers said they had so far found no evidence of graduate Grace leaving the hotel and admitted “grave fears for her safety”.
Police released images of her necklace and watch and urged anyone who recognised the items to come forward.
They also seized a "vehicle of interest" on Saturday.
Auckland City Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard said: "Detectives have assessed Grace's belongings that were found at the backpackers where she was staying.
"Several of her belongings, including her passport, are missing and police believe it is likely that Grace has these items with her."
Grace was last seen on Saturday night and was booked into the £10-a-night Base Backpackers party hostel until tomorrow.
On the day of her disappearance she told pals at the hostel, “I’m going to see a friend”. She messaged others saying she was meeting a guy, her family said.
It was widely thought she had made a date on Tinder, although police have refused to confirm it.
Before the CityLife Hotel footage emerged, the last confirmed sighting of Grace had been CCTV of her dressed for a night out as she left the Sky City casino complex at 7.15pm.
She was wearing a pink £5,000 prize draw wristband, suggesting she planned to return to the casino, just a few minutes from the hotel.
Her dad, millionaire property developer David, 60, has flown to New Zealand, where he made an emotional appeal for help.
Fighting back tears at a press conference, he asked for anyone with information, “any detail, no matter how small”, to come forward.
Mr Millane, from Wickford, Essex, said: “Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter. Grace has never been out of contact for this amount of time.
“She’s usually in daily contact with either her mother, myself, her two brothers or members of the family on social media. We have been extremely concerned for her welfare.
“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.”
Police said they had a 20-strong team scouring CCTV for evidence she left the City Life Hotel.
Matt Searle, chief executive of the Lucie Blackman Trust, which is working with Grace’s family, confirmed police were exploring the possibility she met someone online.
He said: “Speaking to the police in Auckland, it is an avenue they are looking at but we think the Tinder side of it is unsubstantiated.
“We have had literally hundreds of people telling us she’s on Tinder.
“We don’t know who this guy was or how she met him and everyone is keeping a very open mind as to how that came about.”
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