New hope in the search for missing Milton Keynes girl Leah Croucher
A massive surge of national publicity could this week provide a breakthrough into the seven month search for missing Leah Croucher.
Bosses of ITV's This Morning show have now agreed to broadcast Leah's case to millions of viewers in the hope it will prompt a vital clue.
Their action follows yesterday's Citizen story about how the team dismissed a plea from Leah's sister Jade with a “cold and uncaring” standard email of refusal, read full story here.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) the case will receive a further nationwide boost when it is featured on Crimewatch Roadshow on BBC at 9.15am but will also be available on iPlayer.
They will be appealing for anybody who has seen Leah in the past seven months, or anybody who saw something strange happening in Milton Keynes on February 15, the morning the 19-year-old vanished without trace.
Leah's family and friends have been campaigning constantly to raise awareness of their home-loving daughter's disappearance, but cannot understand why the baffling and highly unusual case does not make headlines in national newspapers and news channels.
“Suzy Lamplugh's disappearance was reported constantly. Everybody knows her name. But there are still millions of people who have never heard of Leah Croucher – and some of these people may know something important,” said a source.
Leah's father John, who lives on Emerson Valley, has welcomed the publicity surge. He said: “We pray that this will bring us the answers we need. It has to. Because we can't go much longer without knowing, without going insane.”
The Citizen has been in contact with the editor of This Morning show, Martin Frizell, who has a long history of working with the Missing People charity.
He said he was moved by the family's “determination and passion” to find Leah.
“Someone is reported missing in the UK every 90 seconds, thankfully 99% are resolved but that still leaves 2,500 people who vanish each year," Mr Frizell told the MK Citizen.
"We can't cover every case but Leah's is deserving of our attention.”
He added: "I plan to put our ex-Detective Mark Williams Thomas onto the mystery to film the story and give it some national attention.”
Mark Williams Thomas made the Jimmy Savile documentary for ITV and has investigated the Madeline McCann and Jill Dando cases for Mr Frizell.
Leah's sister Jade said: “For the past seven months my family and I have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness in the hope that someone, somewhere has information on where Leah may be or what could have happened to her."
She added: “I cannot express to you how difficult this has been. We battle day in, day out with the thoughts running through our minds of the harm Leah could have come to and yet we still keep pushing to ensure people do not forget.
“We are not afraid to admit that we do desperately need help. Alone we cannot raise the awareness that Leah deserves.”
Anybody who has any information, no matter how small, about what has happened to Leah should call police on 101 quoting reference 43190049929, Or they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 without giving their name or personal details.
There is still an unclaimed £5,000 reward.