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Leah Croucher cops release pic unearthed by web sleuths in hunt for missing teen who vanished three years ago

COPS searching for a teenager who vanished three years ago today have released a haunting photo unearthed by web sleuths.

Detectives have shared an old photograph of a figure in black, discovered on a mobile phone, in the hopes it will help them track down missing Leah Croucher.

Internet sleuths unearthed this photo of a figure dressed in black, which was taken on the day 19-year-old Leah Croucher vanished in 2019
The image, captured at 10.51am on February 15 that year, was taken two-and-a-half hours after the last sighting of Leah on CCTV[/caption]

Leah, then 19, disappeared as she made her way to work in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire on February 15, 2019.

The image, which was taken at 10.51am that day, shows a person dressed entirely in black at Furzton Lake.

The figure appears to have a rucksack exactly like Leah’s when she vanished.

Children are seen feeding the ducks in the image, which was taken two-and-a-half hours after the last CCTV sighting of the teenager that morning.

It was also more than two hours after her phone left the network in the area near the lake at 8.34am.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard of Thames Valley Police said the picture “may or may not have been Leah”.

Police say Leah’s family suffer ‘constant anguish’

However, he said locals may have seen a young woman who was “upset” and using her phone that morning.

“The imagine we’re releasing today is not of a high quality, but I’m hoping someone will recognise themselves as being in this picture,” he said.

“I’m am particularly keen to identify the person seen in the image who is dressed in black.”

Witnesses who were at the lake have described “seeing a young female in black clothing who appeared distracted or upset, and possibly using her phone,” DCI Howard said.

“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,” he added.

“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.”


It comes after a satellite picture of a “girl in a red blanket” spotted on Google Earth appeared to show a girl resembling the teenager.

The chilling image was captured near a disused barn in Eaton Bray, 18 miles from Milton Keynes, a month after Leah went missing.

But DCI Howard said cops can “categorically rule out that this is Leah”.

“A detailed investigation of the property and the barn has provided not evidence of Leah being linked to, or having been at, that location,” he said.

“Leah walked to work in Knowlhill most mornings. On Friday, February 15, she was seen on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane, Furzton at 8.16am, so we know for certain that she walked that way.”

After that, it’s believed she passed Tellytubby Hill in Dulverton Drive before heading north around Furzton Lake, or along Loxbeare Drive into Shenley Lodge.


“This area is a well populated residential area with people commuting, doing the school run or exercising,” DCI Howard said.

“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.”

Police know Leah didn’t take her usual route into work on the day she vanished. Mystery also surrounds a period of time between 6pm and 7.15pm the evening before, when Leah left her home.

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

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

He said her family live with “constant anguish” – adding: “It’s never too late to come forward.”

A £20,000 reward is being offered for information which leads to Leah being found.

To speak to police, call 101 quoting reference number 43190049929, or Operation Dawlish.

The last confirmed sighting of Leah was at 8.16am that day, when she was captured on camera in Buzzacott Lane[/caption]
The young woman, pictured with her sister Jade, disappeared three years ago today while she was on her way to work in Milton Keynes[/caption]

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