Leah Croucher: Police find human remains three years after teenager vanished

CCTV of Leah Croucher
CCTV of Leah Croucher

A murder inquiry has been launched by detectives searching for a missing woman who has not been seen since 2019 after human remains were found at a property.

Thames Valley Police identified the remains during forensic examinations in Loxbeare Drive, Milton Keynes, during the search for missing Leah Croucher.

Officers found a rucksack and personal items belonging to Ms Croucher after a tip-off from a member of the public on Monday.

Specialist teams are still searching a property in Loxbeare Drive, Furzton, Milton Keynes, where the items were found, and will remain there “for a significant period of time”, the force said.

Misss Croucher, 19, vanished while walking to work in February 2019.

She was last seen on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane, Furzton, just after 8.15am that day, walking in the direction of Loxbeare Drive and Chaffron Way.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter said: “Following a call to police on Monday, we attended an address and located items of concern within the property.

“We are dealing with a very difficult scene but we can now confirm that we have discovered a number of items that are linked to Leah, and as such we have now launched a murder investigation, led by our Major Crime Unit.

“Leah’s family have been kept updated and continue to be supported by officers, and we are urging the public and media to think of her family and not to speculate further while this investigation is in the early stages.

“We will provide further updates when we are able to do so.

“There remains a scene watch in place at the address while this investigation continues, and we are committed to ensuring that our inquiries at the scene are thorough.”

He said hundreds of officers and staff have worked on the search for Ms Croucher in the past three and a half years, scouring 1,200 hours of CCTV and carrying out 4,000 house-to-house inquiries.

The desperate search for her whereabouts has involved specialist police search teams, the mounted section, police dogs, the marine unit and the National Police Air Service.

Mr Hunter added: “The call from the member of the public that we received on Monday was the first occasion that we were alerted to this address, and we thank them for contacting us immediately to report their concerns.

“Our thoughts remain with Leah’s family and friends, and we will continue to offer them all the support that they need.”

The forensic examination continues and will do for some time, and it is likely to take some time to formally identify the deceased, the force said.

Miss Croucher was described by loved ones as “very quiet” and “not really an outgoing type of person”, preferring to read fantasy fiction or watch DVDs in her room to nights-out at the pub.

She had competed internationally in taekwondo but her father said she was “not a fighter”.

Her family was struck by further tragedy when Miss Croucher’s brother, Haydon Croucher, died at the age of 24 in November 2019.

His mother said he had found the disappearance of his sister “very difficult”.

Published by anthonyhayble

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