Police admit potential that Leah Croucher is dead 'has to increase'

What happened to Leah Croucher? Police admit potential that missing teenager is dead ‘has to increase’ with ‘no significant lead’ two years after she vanished

  • Leah Croucher, 19, was last seen on CCTV in Milton Keynes on February 15, 2019
  • She then ‘effectively vanished into thin air’, sparking a massive police hunt
  • Thames Valley Police said the potential that Leah is not alive ‘has to increase’ 
  • For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local branch 

Police searching for a missing teenager have revealed there has been ‘no significant lead’ two years after her disappearance in Milton Keynes – and said that the young woman is potentially ‘no longer alive’.

Leah Croucher, 19, was last seen on CCTV down Buzzacott Lane in Furzton, Buckinghamshire while on her way to work on the morning of February 15, 2019 before she ‘effectively vanished into thin air’.

Despite a wide-scale investigation in which police visited 4,000 properties and reviewed 1,200 hours of CCTV, no trace of her has been found and no one has been arrested in connection with the case.

Police called the case ‘bewildering and frustrating’, and said they retained an ‘open mind’ but ‘the potential that Leah is no longer alive has to increase’.

Leading the investigation for Thames Valley Police, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard said ‘we’ve had no confirmed sightings of Leah’ since February 15, 2019. 


Leah Croucher, 19, was last seen on CCTV down Buzzacott Lane in Furzton, Buckinghamshire while on her way to work on the morning of February 15, 2019 before she ‘vanished into thin air’

An underwater search rescue team with sonar equipment search one of the four Teardrop Lakes near Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, for missing Leah Croucher

He said police had received ‘in the region of 600 pieces of information – be that information about what’s possibly happened to Leah or reported potential sightings’.

‘However, none of them have provided a significant lead to allow us to establish what’s happened to Leah,’ he told the BBC.  

‘After all of this time with no contact, no positive sightings, no financial transactions, no social media and no phone activity, the potential that Leah is no longer alive has to increase.

‘Mystery really is the word. It’s bewildering and frustrating.’

Detective Chief Inspector Howard also said that friends had spoken to police about anxiety issues Leah was having at the time.

He suggested it is ‘possible that Leah has made a conscious decision and she’s acting of her own accord’, but refused to ‘preclude the role of a third party being involved in Leah’s disappearance’. 

The night before she went missing, Leah left her home in Milton Keynes between 6pm and 7.15pm, telling her mother Claire Croucher she was seeing a friend. 

The police found out she never saw the friend and they do not know where she went or who she was with – or whether she met anyone that night. 

Her parents last saw her when she went to bed, with her mother Claire previously saying it was ‘the last time I got to say goodnight’.

Leah, pictured the day she disappeared. She was last seen by her family at home in Milton Keynes at around 10pm on February 14

John and Claire Croucher are pictured speaking to media at Milton Keynes Police Station, as they plead for information after Leah’s disappearance

Leah’s family are more determined than ever to find out what happened to their beloved daughter, with a statement from the family saying: ‘It’s now been two years since our beautiful, wonderful daughter Leah, left for work and vanished without a trace. Missing. Gone.

‘To say they have been a hard two years is an understatement. They have been the longest and toughest two years of our lives.’  

Her family have since revealed they believed she was in a relationship with a man who was engaged at the time of her disappearance.

However, police have since spoken to him and say they have no suspicions about him because it is thought he has an alibi for the time that Leah went missing. 

Last year Claire and her husband John Croucher said they feared someone may have taken Leah as they questioned why she would ‘just disappear’. 

The search for Leah has seen officers visit more than 4,000 homes in Milton Keynes, while officers have deployed specialist search teams, drones and helicopters.

Marine units and dive teams have conducted searches of lakes across the town but police say they have found no items relating to the missing woman.

Haydon, the brother of missing teenager Leah Croucher (pictured together), killed himself after telling a therapist he was finding it difficult to cope

A £10,000 reward ‘for information that leads to Leah being located’ remains in place, and her family is still being supported by officers.

The statement from the family continued: ‘Leah, you have never left our thoughts for a moment. It may seem that at times to people that we are not thinking about you, but that is not true.

‘We still have those awful questions screaming in our brains -where are you? What happened? We still dream about you. Dream that we find you or that you come home, out of the blue.

‘That the police knock at the door to say they have found you, sometimes in the dream you are alive, sometimes you are not.

‘You are still the last thing we think about at night and the first thing we think about in the morning.’

Claire and John have also had to grapple with the death of their 24-year-old son Haydon Croucher, who committed suicide in his flat in Bletchley six months after Leah went missing. 

Anyone with information about Leah can contact Thames Valley Police on 101, quoting the reference 43190049929.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.    

Timeline of missing Leah Croucher’s disappearance 

February 14, 2019

8am: Leah, 19, sets off for work as normal to her admin job with finance company  in Milton Keynes. 

5.45pm: Leah walks home from work. The location settings on her Samsung phone were switched off in the Furzton Lake area. 

6pm: Leah arrives home from work. She changes into tracksuit bottoms and a long-sleeved top. She tells her mum she is going to visit a friend.

7.15pm: Leah arrives home again. Her behaviour that night was totally normal, say her parents.

February 15

8am: Leah gets up and leaves for work. She sets off on her normal route, wearing a black coat, skinny black jeans, black Converse high top shoes and carrying a small black rucksack. Underneath her coat she wears a distinctive grey hoodie.

8.13am: CCTV footage shows her walking along Buzzacott Lane in Furzton. That was the last confirmed sighting of Leah.

8.34am: Leah’s mobile phone is switched off.

9am: Leah fails to arrive at work.

9.30am – 11.15am: Three different witnesses report seeing a girl matching Leah’s description walking by Furzton Lake. She was looking ‘visibly upset’ and crying while talking on the phone. Police have never been able to say definitely that this was Leah. 

6pm: Leah fails to return home. She is reported missing.

February 17

Police issue a press release saying Leah is missing. 

February 19 

Police release the CCTV footage of Leah. They are becoming ‘increasingly concerned’ for her welfare. Her phone is switched off and cannot be traced and her bank account has not been touched.

In the following weeks divers scour Furzton Lake and fingertip searches are carried out.  Leah’s family and friends put posters up appealing for information.

September 25 

BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow re-enacts Leah’s disappearance and appeals for information. It shows the clothing Leah was wearing on the day she vanished. 

Viewer contacts the show saying she and remembers walking at the Blue Lagoon lake in Bletchley, Milton Keynes in February and seeing a grey hoodie just near the water, like the one Leah was wearing.

October 9 

Police launch a major search at the Blue Lagoon. Nothing of any significance is found.

November 14-16 

Leah’s brother Haydon Croucher killed himself in his flat in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, and was found by his mother and sister. 

February 14, 2020

Leah’s parents Claire and John Croucher issue a fresh appeal at a media conference at Milton Keynes Police Station a year after her disappearance.

February 15, 2021

Her family issue a statement appealing for help to find her on the second anniversary of her disappearance.

In an emotional statement they said: ‘It’s now been two years since our beautiful, wonderful daughter Leah, left for work and vanished without a trace. Missing. Gone. 

‘To say they have been a hard two years is an understatement. They have been the longest and toughest two years of our lives.

‘Leah, you have never left our thoughts for a moment. It may seem that at times to people that we are not thinking about you, but that is not true.

‘We still have those awful questions screaming in our brains – where are you? What happened?

‘We still dream about you. Dream that we find you or that you come home, out of the blue.

‘That the police knock at the door to say they have found you, sometimes in the dream you are alive, sometimes you are not.

‘You are still the last thing we think about at night and the first thing we think about in the morning.’

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