Parents of missing Leah Croucher tell how family was 'destroyed' in anniversary appeal for information

The parents of missing Leah Croucher have told of how their family was “destroyed” by her disappearance a year ago.

Claire and John Croucher revealed the effect that the disappearance of the 19-year-old had had on them and her siblings as they pleaded for information one year on.

Leah “effectively vanished into thin air” in Milton Keynes on 15 February, 2019 while on her way to work, sparking a widespread investigation, including a £5,000 reward offer.

Police said they are unable to rule out that Leah, who was last seen at around 8.15am on Buzzacott Lane, in the Furzton area of the town, came to harm.

John and Claire Croucher appealed for information about missing daughter Leah a year after her disappearance. (Picture: PA)

In an appeal for more information, Mrs Croucher told the PA news agency: “Every day I feel like I’ve given up hope, and it’s a big struggle to get that hope back.

“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.”

Read more: Government says flights from China still allowed as UK cases rise to 9

Read more: Sajid Javid quit because he didn't want to 'rock the boat'

She said the family also hold whoever has information on Leah’s disappearance responsible for the death of her brother Haydon, 24, who died in hospital on 16 November, the day after the nine-month anniversary into his sister’s disappearance, which he was said to have found “very difficult”.

“As a family, we hold them responsible for Haydon’s death as well,” she added. “He obviously, as everybody knows, he couldn’t cope, he found it very difficult.”

Leah Croucher disappeared in Milton Keynes on 15 February, 2019. (Picture: PA)

She said: “They’ve destroyed our entire family and I don’t think they will ever come forward with their information.

“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.”

Her husband echoed her words, saying: “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.”

CCTV footage shows Leah Croucher arriving for work the day before she went missing in February 2019. (Picture: PA)

The couple’s appeal came as Thames Valley Police revealed that a reward for information about Leah’s whereabouts had been doubled to £10,000.

Detective chief inspector Andy Howard, senior investigating officer, said he “cannot preclude” the theory that Leah had been physically taken or been influenced into going missing.

He 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.

“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, day-time, 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.”

Police are appealing for information about Leah’s movements both on the day of her disappearance and on 14 February, 2019 between around 6pm and 7.30pm.

Leah told her family she was going to a friend’s house the evening before she disappeared but did not do so.

The force is also trying to identify an “angry, upset and crying” woman seen near Furzton Lake between 9.30am and 11.15am on the day of her disappearance.