Monika Billen: German tourist found dead in Australian outback


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Australian police say they have found the body of a German tourist near a bush track in the Northern Territory.

Monika Billen, 62, was last seen on 2 January at a popular outback tourist spot near the town of Alice Springs.

Her body was found beneath a tree about 3km (1.8 miles) away on Wednesday. Police have not said how she died.

Ms Billen had been reported missing last week, prompting her family in Cologne to issue an emotional plea for information.

Police suspended their search for Ms Billen after five days, but resumed it after receiving location data from her phone providers.

“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 answer,” said Supt Pauline Vicary from Northern Territory Police.

Described as an experienced solo traveller by her family, Ms Billen had told them about her plans to take “more or less extensive walks” in the area.

“Monika has travelled off the beaten path for many years and in many countries and has always proceeded with caution,” they wrote in a letter reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Police said one motorist who had reported giving Ms Billen a lift at the popular tourist spot, Emily Gap, on 2 January.

She had appeared “dehydrated and disoriented” and declined offers of water before leaving the vehicle, police said.

The average maximum temperature in Alice Springs in January is 36.4C, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.

Police said a report would be prepared for a coroner.


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