Stephanie Simpson's family flew to New Zealand to join the search when she went missing during a hike. The family's efforts to find Simpson came to a tragic end as her body was found in a creek a short distance away from her belongings. The experienced hiker had been on a solo hike over the weekend. Her absence was noted when she failed to turn up for work. Since her employer notified the police of her absence there has been a massive manhunt for Simpson which has been called off after the sombre discovery on Friday.

Simpson had been on a working holiday in Wanaka, New Zealand since she left her home in Essex. The highly active young woman filled her weekends with outdoor activities. Last Thursday, February 6, was the last time her family heard from her. Simpson had reportedly exchanged messages on her family WhatsApp group. The last her friends heard of her was on Friday last week. She told them that she was going hiking and camping in Mount Aspiring National Park.

Doug Peddle, owner of Doug the Gardener in Wanaka, reported Simpson missing when she failed to turn up for work on Monday. Search and rescue teams started combing the national park. A helicopter scoped the area from the skies as two dog teams and 16 searchers continued to look for Simpson over the next few days.

Simpson's pack and boots were noticed from a helicopter. Drone footage from Thursday also showed the pack and boots in the same place. Simpson's body was discovered a short distance away, at the bottom of Pyke Creek.

Police claim that Simpson has hiked up Mount Armstrong to a spot known as the Brewster's Hut, the Daily Mail reported. While descending from Mt Armstrong, Simpson presumably felt unwell. Police believe that the disoriented hiker left her pack and boots near the creek and tried to freshen up in the water. Simpson was found downstream from where she might have fallen into the river.

Post mortem reports can conclusively prove the reason behind Simpson's death.

Police Sergeant Mark Kirkwood encouraged solo hikers to carry locator beacons or tracking devices in case they got into trouble.

Solo hikers have been encouraged to use location tracking devices. Creative Commons