A body, believed to be that of missing woman Chelsea Brunton, has been found at a Palmerston North property today.

Chelsea Brunton was last seen on May 6 at Palmerston North Hospital when she went out for a cigarette but never came back.

Police have called off the search for Brunton since the discovery of the body. Formal identification and a post-mortem examination are still to be completed.

There are no suspicious circumstances and the death will be referred to the coroner, police said.


Brunton, 21, had a 3-year-old daughter.

The family of a young man who died in similar circumstances two years ago have expressed their "heartfelt condolences" to Brunton's family.

Nicky Stevens, the son of Hamilton city councillor Dave Macpherson, stepped out for an unsupervised cigarette break while a patient at the Henry Bennett Centre.

His body was later found in the Waikato River.

Macpherson said the family wished to "express its great sorrow" to Brunton's family.

He said "one-size-fits-all" DHB policies that make mental health patients stand in the street to smoke were putting them at risk.

Waikato DHB did not accept responsibility for Stevens' death.