'Something terrible has happened to my daughter,' says devastated father of Leah Croucher from Milton Keynes
The father of Leah Croucher has spoken of his despair and belief that “something terrible” has happened to his daughter to stop her coming home.
More than 10 months after Leah disappeared, hopes are rapidly fading that she will ever be found alive.
Her family suffered a devastating blow last month with the death of Leah's 24-year-old brother Haydon Croucher, who took his own life because he was so depressed about his missing sister.
“We know Leah would have been at her brother's funeral if she could have. Something terrible is stopping her from being here with us,” said John.
“Our pain at losing Haydon is unbearable. Suicide is a difficult choice for those left behind to deal with and understand...So much pain to try to deal with - made a million times worse because we know if Leah was still here so would Haydon.”
He revealed on the day of Haydon's funeral earlier this month, police officers knocked on his door with another grim “lead” about Leah.
“Our horrible life does not pause because we lost our kind, wonderful son. Just before Haydon's funeral, the police arrive, apologising for the intrusion at this difficult time but there was another patch of land to search. The end result - nothing as usual. But there was time spent wondering if we would have two funerals this month to organise.
“At least they would be back together. Two children to say final goodbyes to.”
John, his wife Claire and their daughter Jade are not celebrating Christmas and new year at all this year.
He said: “We started 2019 with a hopeful attitude that it would be another good year - family holidays to look forward to, favourite meals to cook, laughs and love to come. We end the year wondering what has happened to make everything fall apart in such spectacular fashion.”
Jade, who at 26 is the oldest sibling, said: “The sadness just keeps coming with the force of a truck.”
She said she knows deep down there was nothing that would have stopped Leah being at her brother's funeral.
“Nothing but the unimaginable bad situations that we are likely to be facing. What or who is stopping you from being here? Are you in heaven with Haydon? Are you looking after one another? Will you ever come home to us? The sad truth is - we just don’t know but the loss that I feel from you being missing for 10 months feels the same intensity as grieving, that’s for sure.”
She added: "I am finding it so difficult to accept that Haydon is gone, I am finding it so difficult that we still have no answers about what has happened to Leah. I find it difficult that at a time of year where everyone is surrounded by love, I have lost my brother and sister.
"My fears grow every day, my heart physically aches for them both. Why has the world dealt us such a bad card?”
If there is anyone out there who knows anything about Leah's disappearance, they should make a call urgently to ease the agony of the Croucher family this Christmas.
They can call police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously and free on 0800 555 111.