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Parents of missing teen: 'Stop being selfish, tell police what you know'

Sky News logo Sky News 13/02/2020

a close up of a woman with her mouth open: Leah Croucher has been missing since February 2019. Pic: Thames Valley Police © Other Leah Croucher has been missing since February 2019. Pic: Thames Valley Police The parents of missing Leah Croucher have said their family has been "destroyed" as they pleaded for information one year on from her disappearance.

Leah "effectively vanished into thin air" in Milton Keynes on 15 February while on her way to work.

An extensive investigation was launched following the last sighting of Leah, then aged 19, at around 8.15am on Buzzacott Lane, in the Furzton area.

Police have said they are unable to rule out that Leah came to harm and her parents Claire and John Croucher fear someone may have taken her.

In an anniversary appeal they questioned why she would "just disappear".

a person standing in front of a monkey: Ms Croucher was last seen just after 8.15am on Friday 15 February. Pic; Thames Valley Police © Other Ms Croucher was last seen just after 8.15am on Friday 15 February. Pic; Thames Valley Police

"Every day I feel like I've given up hope, and it's a big struggle to get that hope back," Mrs Croucher said.

"It's more and more difficult because, if someone took Leah for example, she's suffering for 365 days and no one wants that for their child."

She told of her family's further heartbreak following the death of Leah's brother, who she says found the disappearance of his sister "very difficult".

Haydon Croucher, 24, died in hospital on 16 November - nine months after Leah went missing.

Mrs Croucher said: "They've destroyed our entire family and I don't think they will ever come forward with their information.

a person posing for the camera: Haydon Croucher, left, died nine months after his sister Leah, right, was last seen © Other Haydon Croucher, left, died nine months after his sister Leah, right, was last seen

"As a family, we hold them responsible for Haydon's death as well. He obviously, as everybody knows, he couldn't cope, he found it very difficult.

"Why do they hate us so much that they've put us through this by keeping quiet? They should do the decent thing and come forward."

Mr Croucher added: "Two lives seem to have disappeared. My son has died, my daughter is still missing, we don't know if she's alive or dead.

"My family is destroyed. Stop being selfish, please tell the police what you know."

It comes as Thames Valley Police revealed that a reward for any information about Leah's whereabouts had been doubled to £10,000.

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.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, senior investigating officer, said: "What I can say is that 12 months into the investigation, I've got no information at all that leads me to reasonably believe that a third party has harmed Leah.

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Claire and John Croucher fear someone may have taken Leah © PA Claire and John Croucher fear someone may have taken Leah

"But because of the circumstances in which Leah has gone missing, on a Friday morning, on a route that she is known to take consistently, daytime, and has effectively vanished into thin air.

"That is really concerning and unusual and because of that, I cannot preclude those theories, even though I've got no information to support them at this time."

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Police are appealing for information about Leah's movements both on the day of her disappearance and on 14 February between approximately 6pm and 7.30pm, when her whereabouts are still unknown.

Anyone with any information should contact Thames Valley Police, quoting investigation number 43190049929.

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