German tourist Monika Billen found dead in Australian outback
The 62-year-old was last seen ‘disorientated and dehydrated’ on 2 January
The body of missing German tourist Monika Billen has been found in the Australian outback, according to authorities.
The 62-year-old from Cologne, who was travelling alone, was last seen on 2 January at a popular tourist spot, Emily Gap, in the East MacDonnell Ranges.
She was reported missing on 8 January, three days after she failed to check out of her accommodation in Alice Springs and get on a flight to Darwin.
Police suspended their search for Billen after five days, but resumed it after receiving location data from her phone provider that enabled authorities to narrow the area of their search using aircraft and drones, the BBC reports.
CNN says that Billen’s body was discovered on Wednesday around 2.9km (1.8 miles) west of Emily Gap, off a track and under a tree.
Superintendent Pauline Vicary, of the Alice Springs Division of the Northern Territory Police, said: “Members have worked tirelessly to locate the 62-year-old since she was reported missing to police.
“It is deeply upsetting that we have to tell her family this sad news, but we are relieved to be able to provide them with answers.”
The Guardian reports that CCTV footage from 1 January “clearly showed Billen walking out the front of the resort on Barrett Drive and later south along the Todd River”, adding that brochures in Billen’s hotel room “suggested she may have been interested in walking local trails, including the Larapinta trail”.
The circumstances of Billen’s death are unclear, but the news comes amid a record-breaking heatwave across Australia, affecting almost every state and territory.
CNN reports that the “majority of January days in Alice Springs so far this year have been above 40 degrees Celsius”, adding that the witness who may be the last person to have seen Billen alive on 2 January told police he had seen her “apparently disorientated and dehydrated” and had given her a lift.