The body of the Israeli backpacker missing in New Zealand since March 26 has been found.
Police said on Saturday that a post-mortem confirmed it was Liat Tas-Okin, 35, who failed to return from a three-day trek on the South Island.
After a month-long official search, Ms Tas-Okin’s brother, Itamar, enlisted Hilik Magnus, Israel’s most renowned search-and-rescue operator, to continue a private search of the dense bushland on April 24.
He found her backpack and shoes last Thursday, prompting local police to return to the scene, where they found Ms Tas-Okin’s frozen body.
“We retrieved the body with the use of a helicopter in an elaborate operation carried out in cooperation with local police,” Magnus said.
Ms Tas-Okin’s mother Miriam, who lives in Netiv Ha’asara, just 50 metres from the Gaza Strip, told Yediot Achronot’s website Ynet: “I was very surprised and shocked. I was certain she would be found alive.
“During this entire time we continued to try and find her although a significant period of time had passed and people told me that the situation was worrying.”
Itamar Tas told the New Zealand Herald: “It’s the worst thing that could happen to a family.”
The private search cost an estimated $NZ100,000 [£40,000], which was raised from Tas family savings, loans and donations from people in Israel and New Zealand.