Remains found on route Leah Croucher walked to work each day before vanishing in 2019

News

Police searching for missing Leah Croucher identified human remains less than a mile from her home and on the route she walked every day to work, it has emerged.

Forensic examinations are ongoing in Loxbeare Drive, Milton Keynes, where a blue and white forensic tent was erected on Monday following a phone call from a concerned member of the public.

Thames Valley Police say examinations are likely to continue “for some time” as a murder inquiry was launched.

As hoped rise the 19-year-old’s family may finally have answers it emerged the £600,000 house being searched by police is less than a mile from Leah’s family home in Emerson Valley.

The remains are also located less than half a mile from where the 19-year-old was last seen on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane, Furzon, in 2019.

So close is it to the family’s home, a missing person sign with a £5,000 reward, possibly from the time Ms Croucher disappeared, is still tacked to a tree nearby.

It is also in the middle of the route Leah walked every day to her place of work in Knowihill around Furzton Lake.

Today, uniformed officers were seen standing in front of a white van outside one property as teams of forensics experts went into the other house.

A former neighbour in Loxbeare Drive said she remembered the house-to-house police enquiries from three years ago.

She told the MK Citizen : “It was the week after Leah vanished and an officer knocked on my door. He was a community officer and I recognised him.

“He asked if I had seen or heard anything on the morning of February 15. I hadn’t. He said he wanted to talk to the man of the house too, but my husband was away on business.

“The officer said he’d come back another time, when my husband was back. He never did return, though, and I always thought it was strange.”

Earlier this week the force confirmed a number of personal items belonging to Leah, including a rucksack.

Head of Crime for Thames Valley Police, 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 enquiries at the scene are thorough.

“During our search for Leah, we have committed hundreds of officers and staff to the search for Leah over the last three and a half years, reviewing 1,200 hours of CCTV and conducted more than 4,000 house-to-house inquiries and offered several rewards for information to lead us to Leah.

“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.”