On 15 February this year, to mark the third anniversary of the disappearance of Leah Croucher in Milton Keynes, Thames Valley Police issued a renewed appeal for information to assist the investigation.
In that appeal, officers released new images of people who it is believed could have important information that could lead us to locating Leah.
One of the images was of a woman walking her dog by Furzton Lake on the morning Leah went missing, and we can now confirm that this woman has come forward and contacted Thames Valley Police.
As a result of that positive response, we are today (15/3) re-releasing the other images, as we are still keen to identify and speak to these people.
Leah, who was 19-years-old at the time of her disappearance, was reported missing from Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes on Friday 15 February 2019, by her family. They last saw her at 10pm the day before, 14 February, Valentine’s Day.
The last confirmed sighting of Leah was at 8.16am on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane, Furzton, on the morning of 15 February, and the last activity on her phone was just after 8.30am that day.
One of the images we are re-releasing today is a still photograph, which shows the figure of a person dressed in black.
This person has never been identified, and it may, or may not be Leah on the day that she disappeared.
In this image, there are also a number of members of the public, who we are very keen to speak to.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, said: “The images we are re-releasing today are not of high quality, however, we are hoping that someone will recognise themselves as being in the picture.
“I would ask you to cast your minds back to Friday 15 February 2019, and if you tended to frequent the area of Furzton Lake, and believe you were in the area that morning, please take a close look at these images.
“Is it possible that the images have captured you?
“I am very keen to hear from anybody in the group of people in this image, and particularly keen to identify and speak to the figure dressed in black.
“It may be that you regularly walked in this area back in 2019 and that you will recognise yourselves.
“These images were captured the day after Valentine’s Day 2019, and just before the school half-term holidays.
“If you believe any of the people in these images is you, or even if you think one of them could be you, please get in touch with police, if you have not already done so.
“You may have that vital clue or piece of information.
“The photograph of the person dressed in black was taken at 10.51am on the morning of 15 February 2019.
“It is not possible from the image alone to say whether the person dressed in black is Leah, but we do have witnesses in the area of the lake at around this time who describe seeing a young female in black clothing who is described as appearing distracted or upset, and possibly using her phone.
“Despite previous appeals we have so far been unable to establish the identity of this female and so if you believe this was you or you know who it is, please contact the police.
“Were you in the area of Furzton Lake between 10.45am and 11.30am on that morning?
“I know this was three years ago, but this image was taken the day after Valentine’s Day, and just prior to the school half-term break, and so it may be that you remember being in the area, or you walk in this area regularly.
“I would appeal once again, if you believe that any of the figures in these images could be you, or somebody that you may know, please get in touch.
“We remain absolutely committed to finding Leah and seeking answers for her family.
“It has been more than three years now since Leah disappeared without trace, and despite extensive investigations, we still do not know where she went after the sighting on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane.
“I still genuinely believe that there are people who were in the area of Furzton Lake that morning who will have seen Leah and who can assist this investigation.
“It was very encouraging that releasing these images on the third anniversary led to the female dog walker contacting the force.
“Although this did not provide us with any new leads, it gives me real optimism that further information is out there that can assist us in finding Leah.
“It is never too late to come forward and help our investigation, no matter how insignificant your information may seem to you.
“The constant anguish that Leah’s family and friends have had to live with is never, and will never, be lost on me.
“Therefore, I am making another appeal to the public to study these images, think back to the date of 15 February 2019, and contact Thames Valley Police if you have any information that can lead us to identify the individuals in these images.
“I remain absolutely committed in finding answers for Leah’s family, and you could hold the key evidence to help us to locate Leah.
“The response from the public since Leah went missing has been incredible and I know that Leah’s case remains very much at the forefront of the minds of the residents of Milton Keynes.
“Members of the local community have generously offered a £20,000 reward for information that leads to Leah being found, and that reward is still available.”
Anyone who has information that could lead to the force locating Leah Croucher, is asked to contact 101 quoting reference number 43190049929, or Operation Dawlish.
Information can be left via our dedicated website for this investigation, which is https://mipp.police.uk/operation/43H218A55-PO1/.