“Please do not harm her”: Police fear Belgian tourist held against will near Meningie

UPDATE: 5.30pm, Friday February 10

From the Murray Valley Standard:

South Australian Police have sent out a plea to the person they believe is holding Belgian tourist Davine Arckens against her will in the Meningie area; “please do not harm her”.

Ms Arckens’ family alerted police of their concern for her safety and that they believe she is being held against her will, which has led police investigation.

Police held a press conference at the Murray Bridge Police Station at 4.30pm on Friday, February 10 regarding information about the missing woman.

Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins from the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch said they are using both State and Commonwealth resources.

“Our number one priority is her safety and locating her,” he said.

"I also appeal to that person who may be holding Davine against her will, we are throwing significant resources at this, it is only a matter of time before we identify who you are and I plead with you not to harm her or to do her any more harm,"

She is 24-years old with mousey-blonde hair and was last seen wearing a white top and khaki pants. 

Police understand Ms Arckens placed an ad on Gumtree seeking farming work.

It is believed that someone responded to the ad then Ms Arckens took a bus from Adelaide to Murray Bridge.

At 10.15am on Thursday, February 9, she got off the bus at South Terrace, Murray Bridge and has not been seen since. 

Police are working around the Meningie area with specific addresses they are investigating and a number of people they are speaking to.

Mr Hutchins also said they have a car of interest that they are investigating. 

Police are looking through CCTV footage from around the Murray Bridge area. 

Earlier today a female hitch-hiker wearing a bright lime green top was seen on the Dukes Highway near The Bend Motorsport Park, and police are seeking to speak to her.

It is unsure whether the hitch-hiker is related to this incident.

Police have serious concerns for her welfare, and anyone who sees her is asked to call the police assistance line on 131444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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4.16pm: SA Police are fearful missing Belgian tourist Davine Arcken is being held against her will somewhere in the Murray Mallee region.

Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins, from the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch, said at this time police were gravely concerned that Ms Arckens was being held against her will.

“While I don’t want to disclose exact details of what has led to that conclusion, I can say we are very concerned that this young lady is being held against her will somewhere in the Murraylands region,” he said.

“In particular we are focusing significant resources around Meningie.

“Our investigation has a number of avenues, which I do not want to detail today, but our number one priority at this point in time is the safe return of Ms Arckens.

“I would directly appeal for anyone who is holding Ms Arckens to let her go without harming her.

“This is very serious matter and SA Police will follow every avenue of inquiry in a bid to locate this young woman safe and well.”

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4pm: Have you seen this woman?

Police are seeking help from the public to help locate her, possibly in the Murraylands.

Her name is Davine Arckens, and she is a tourist from Belgium.

She is 24 years old, about 160 centimetres tall, with a Caucasian appearance and both ears pierced.

She arrived in Adelaide on February 2 and travelled to Kangaroo Island.

She returned to Adelaide on February 6 and booked into accommodation.

She was last seen leaving tourist accommodation in Waymouth Street, Adelaide yesterday morning and boarded a bus in Currie Street at 8.40am yesterday.

At 10.15am she got off the bus in South Terrace, Murray Bridge.

From there her whereabouts are unknown.

Police have serious concerns for her welfare, and anyone who sees her is asked to call the police assistance line on 131444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Police force gathers

The Standard’s Meningie correspondent, Marianne Cunneen, says about 10 police cars had gathered at that town’s police station by 3pm.

It is not known whether they have any connection to the disappearance.

More to come