Missing hiker found dead in NZ
The body of British hiker Stephanie Simpson has been found by a search party in New Zealand almost a week after she disappeared in a national park.
Ms Simpson, 32, went missing on the weekend while trekking through Mt Aspiring National Park, in Otago on New Zealand's South Island.
Sergeant Mark Kirkwood said a search team found Simpson's body in the Pyke Creek area, near Brewster Hut, around 1.40pm on Friday.
Simpson, from Essex, was reported missing around 8.45am on Monday when she failed to keep an appointment. She had told friends she planned to hike to Brewster Hut and then move on to Blue Pools, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Search and rescue teams scoured the rugged terrain with teams on the ground, dogs, helicopters and drones with thermal imagery.
Police narrowed their search to the Pyke Creek area, southeast of Haast, on Friday morning after finding Ms Simpson's pack and boots.
Brother-in-law Sam Hazelton previously told the Herald her family in the UK were "hoping upon hope" that she would be found.
"You can't imagine, it's pretty awful," he said.
"Everybody's just hoping. You go to bed thinking: 'What can we do?'"
Ms Simpson was an extremely fit, experienced hiker, her brother-in-law said.
"She's someone that's done triathlons, running races, marathons, she's really sporty and picks up new skills quickly."
Passionate about trekking, she had hiked for many years in the UK, Australia, and recently, New Zealand.
The last time the family heard from Ms Simpson was when she messaged a family WhatsApp group on Thursday morning to say she was going out for the weekend.
"It was a normal weekend tramp. That's what she's there for, just to make the most of that free time," Mr Hazelton said.
"She has a real interest in exploring in the outdoors in the environment, she loves new challenges and new adventures."
It is believed she headed out to Mt Aspiring National Park after work on Friday and was expected to return on Sunday.
She was carrying a day pack and did not take a search and rescue beacon with her.
This story was first published on the New Zealand Herald and republished with permission.