Stephanie Simpson: New Zealand police find body of missing woman

Family desperate after British hiker Stephanie Simpson goes missing in New Zealand

Family desperate after British hiker Stephanie Simpson goes missing in New Zealand

New Zealand search and rescue crews were looking for a British hiker on Friday while her family remained desperate for any information.

The 32-year-old from Essex, who was on a working holiday, had not been seen since she went for a hike - or tramp as it is known in New Zealand - at the weekend in the Mount Aspiring national park, home to one of New Zealand's highest peaks.

Earlier, they had found "items of interest" in the area which were thought to belong to Ms Simpson, including a pack and a pair of boots.

Sergeant Mark Kirkwood says they pulled out technology they don't usually use to help the search, including the RECCO device that can help track some brands of hiking clothes mostly made in Europe.

He said in a statement the search had been extremely challenging because of the rugged terrain.

An official cause of death has not been given, and the death has been referred to the coroner for further examination.

"Police extend their condolences to Stephanie's family at this tragic time".

It meant they were able to narrow down the considerably large search area.

Alpine Cliff Rescue and a specialist canyon search and rescue team were key parts of the search effort.

A thermal-imaging drone, dog teams and a helicopter were deployed for the search.

Simpson's brother-in-law, Sam Hazelton, previously told Sky News the last time the family heard from her was on the family WhatsApp group early on Thursday morning last week.

"She's someone that's done triathlons, running races, marathons, she's really sporty and picks up new skills quickly".

Thousands of hikers visit New Zealand every year to explore its mountains and wildlife. "That's what she's there for, just to make the most of that free time", Mr Hazelton said.

This story was first published on the New Zealand Herald and republished with permission.

It is believed she headed out to Mt Aspiring National Park after work on Friday and was expected to return on Sunday.

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