10 questions the public want police to answer about missing Milton Keynes woman Leah Croucher
They've been drawn up by a community web sleuth group and will be forwarded to police
A community Facebook group determined to help find Leah Croucher has drawn up a list of 10 probing questions for police to answer.
The Leah Croucher Disappearance - Community Investigation group now has almost 7,000 members from all over the country and together they identified the points they wanted clarified from the three year police investigation.
Many of the questions involve 'Mr X', the man with whom Leah was thought to be having a relationship before she vanished. Mr X, an older man who was engaged to be married to someone else at the time, cannot be named for legal reasons.
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He has since denied he and Leah were in a romantic relationship and police have said they spoke to him early in the investigation and have no reason to be suspicious.
Last year Leah's frustrated parents John and Claire publicly criticised police over their handling of the Mr X investigation. They believe he may hold vital information about their daughter and say he was a key person in Leah's life at the time of her disappearance, which happened in February 2019 when she was just 19.
Her dad John said at the time: "Mr X is the only anomaly that was in Leah's life. The only thing she lied about. We feel information he may have is our only chance of finding her.
"We kept quiet because the police strongly advised us it was the right thing to do. They asked us to trust them. We have to finally and publicly admit we think they are wrong."
He added: "We worry that the police did not look more closely at him, his family, his friends. They didn't search cars or homes or workplaces. They searched the area he lives in, but that was all. He will not give permission to look at messages between the both of you. He destroyed those messages.
"Police searched our house five times... They searched Leah's brother's home. They searched our relatives' homes. They searched our cars, our workplaces, our internet history. It feels as if we were under suspicion."
The family claim Mr X has lied about the relationship from the offset.
"Does he not realise that he may have information about people he introduced Leah to, people that may have led to her disappearance? Places Leah used to hang out at? Why doesn't he want to help us find her? Did she mean that little to him? He claims to be Leah's friend... It feels as if he is not a good friend to her," said John.
Below is the list of 10 questions from the Facebook group: They have all been welcomed by Leah's parents.
1. Can police start again and examine ALL links between Leah, Mr X and his family?
2. How far did police push for Mr X’s electronics? Did you inspect his phone and personal and work computers, as he and Leah could have emailed each other possibly?
3. Did police receive full data from Leah’s phone apps and service provider?
4. Did police interview Mr X’s Mum and what did she have to say?
5. Did Mr X have an alibi that did not involve his family and was it legitimate? Can this be publicly addressed by police.
6. Can the case be stepped up from a missing person to a murder case?
7. Can the police release an actual update in the case? We know they can't release all the details, but something would be good.
8. Can the police do another re-creation or simulation of her movements the day before and on the day, to jog people's memories further. Only one was done, two weeks after Leah vanished.
9. Do police agree with the Judge at Aylesbury Crown Court, that Mr X was Leah’s boyfriend?
10. Have cultural sensitivities hampered the investigation?
The questions will be submitted to the Thames Valley Police team investigating Leah's disappearance.
A spokesman for the Facebook group said: "We are sure the police are working diligently to solve this case and we hope these questions help them understand the public’s perception of the investigation."
"The support from the online community is overwhelming and we will bring Leah home with everyone's (especially the police's) help."
They added: "On December 17th, the investigation group members were asked to share a question they had for police. We received dozens and dozens and compiled them into these ten. We are certain the police are working diligently to solve this case and we hope these questions help them understand the public’s perception of the investigation.
"The only question the investigation group’s admin has for the police is: "Given our unique vantage point, how can we help the police more. But more specifically, how can the group and the community aid in the investigation?"
Anybody who has any information about Leah should contact Thames Valley Police on 101, quoting reference number 43190049929 or ‘Operation Dawlish’.
People can also visit the dedicated portal for this investigation here, visit their local police station or, for total anonymity, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
A police spokesman said: "Any piece of information, no matter how small you believe this to be, may assist in the search for Leah."