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Three-year anniversary appeal to locate Leah Croucher – Milton Keynes

Today (15/2) marks the third anniversary of the disappearance of Leah Croucher in Milton Keynes, and we are renewing our appeal to the public to help to locate her.

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, St 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.

On this, the third anniversary since her disappearance, the force would like to renew the appeal to find Leah, both to the residents of Milton Keynes and further across the country.

Thames Valley Police is also releasing an image from Furzton Lake, which shows a figure of a person dressed in black, who may, or may not have been Leah, on the day she disappeared.

This image also shows a number of members of the public, who we would like to speak to, as they might be able to help the investigation.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, said: “The image we are releasing today is not of a high quality, but I am hoping that somebody will recognise themselves as being in this picture."

Right Image: A figure dressed in dark clothing, whom officers are keen to identity. This image also shows a number of members of the public.

DCI Howard continued: “I am keen to hear from the group of people in this image; it may be that you regularly walk in this area and will recognise yourselves.

“I would also like to hear from the person in the image walking her dog.

“If you have not already got in touch with the police, I would urge you to do so, as you may have a vital piece of information that would be key to this investigation. “I’m am particularly keen to identify the person seen in the image who is dressed in black.

“This photograph was taken at 10.51am on the morning of 15 February 2019. It is not possible from the image to say whether or not the person dressed in black is Leah but we 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 am also aware of another image that has been circulated in the media and community groups suggesting a person being sighted in a barn at a property in Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire. We are also aware of other speculation on social media of Leah being linked to this property.

“We were passed this photograph which we investigated using specialist CCTV viewers who reviewed and analysed the image thoroughly.

“We also thoroughly investigated the location in question, and we can categorically rule out that this is Leah in the image. A detailed investigation of the property and the barn has provided no evidence of Leah being linked to or having been at that location.”

With every passing day, Leah’s disappearance remains a mystery, and the force remains determined to seek the answers for Leah’s family and friends.

DCI Howard continued: “I would again like to appeal directly to the people of Milton Keynes, particularly if you live, commute or exercise in the areas that Leah used on a regular basis.

“As we know, Leah walked to work in Knowlhill most mornings. On Friday 15 February she was seen on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane, Furzton at 8.16am, so we know for certain that she walked that way. We would expect her walking route to have taken her past Tellytubby Hill on Dulverton Drive. From that point we believe that Leah would have either taken a route north around Furzton Lake or along Loxbeare Drive into Shenley Lodge and north along Faraday Drive.

CCTV image of Leah's last confirmed sighting in Buzzacott Lane

“This area is a well populated residential area with people commuting, doing the school run or exercising. Given how busy the area is I find it hard to believe that this CCTV clip of Leah at 8.16am is the last time that we know she was seen.

“At around this time a witness saw a female matching Leah’s description walking past Tellytubby Hill, approximately 150 yards after the sighting in Buzzacott Lane. From the information the witness provided we believe it is likely that it is Leah, however as Leah is not known to the witness it is not possible to say with certainty. But this is a busy area and therefore it is highly likely that other people will have seen this same female and we are keen to hear from you.

“We know that the day before Leah’s disappearance she took a route (to work?) which led her from Dulverton Drive and along Loxbeare Drive, under H7 Chaffron Way. She then took a combination of Faraday Drive and the adjacent redways through Shenley Lodge and into Knowlhill.

“However it appears that this was not the route Leah took to work on 15 February. It is for this reason we are appealing to the people who are local to these areas, and feel that there could still be someone out there with information we need.

“I genuinely believe that there are people in the area that morning who will have seen Leah and who can help the investigation.

“We also know that the evening before Leah went missing, having arrived home from work, she left her address in Emerson Valley between approximately 6pm and 7.15pm. We don’t know where Leah went during that period and would ask people to think back to that evening in case they were in that area and saw or spoke to Leah. Where was she? Was she with anybody? What was she doing?

“It is three years since Leah went missing, but the fact that we are seeking information about her movements on Valentine’s Day and 15 February, which was the last day before half-term, means that hopefully these are dates that people can more readily recall.

“The fact that images taken by Furzton Lake on 15 February have recently been provided to the investigation gives us real optimism that further information is out there that can assist in finding Leah.

“It’s never too late to come forward with information to help our investigation, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you.

“The constant anguish that Leah’s family have had to live with is never lost on me.

“I make this fresh appeal to the public, particularly the residents of Milton Keynes, to look at the images of Leah and cast your minds back to Friday 15 February 2019, and the evening before, and please get in touch if you have any information that could help us to find answers for Leah’s family.

“I would again urge those seen in the new images we are releasing today to please get in touch if you believe any of these people are you.

“You could hold the key piece of information that can help us to locate Leah.

“The response from the public since Leah went missing has been excellent 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, CLICK HERE.


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