Suffolk police end Milton landfill search for Corrie McKeague saying they are ‘content’ he is not there
PUBLISHED: 16:10 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:38 13 December 2017
The mother of missing RAF airman Corrie McKeague has spoken of her “immeasurable” peace of mind after police have this afternoon confirmed that they have ruled out he is in a Milton landfill site.
The 23-year-old went missing on September 24 last year after a night out in Bury St Edmunds, last being seen on CCTV at 3.24am near a loading area behind Greggs known as the Horseshoe.
A 20-week search of a landfill site in Milton, Cambridgeshire, was called off on July 21 after no evidence of his body was found.
However, on October 23 a fresh attempt to scour the site was launched, in an area known as cell 22 close to the site of the initial search area.
Police this afternoon have said they are content that he is not in the landfill areas searched.
A force spokesman said: “The inquiry team has identified all the other possible locations where waste has been deposited from the area in Bury St Edmunds known as the ‘horseshoe’ and there are no further realistic search opportunities at this time.”
In a moving statement issued following the news, Corrie’s mother Nicola Urquhart said: “The peace of mind they have given me is immeasurable.
“I will no longer picture my son in that landfill.
“I know how hard they have tried to find Corrie and we will never be able to thank them enough for their efforts.
“What I can say, is, my complete trust in Vince and his team leaves me certain that had Corrie been in that landfill, they would have found him.”
Police’s primary hypothesis is that Corrie ended up in the waste disposal has been endorsed by a review of the investigation carried out by the east midlands Special Operations Unit.
Detective Superintendent Katie Elliott said: “We are still committed to continuing with the inquiry.
“There are a number of other theories about what could have happened to Corrie and we are continuing to test the evidence to help us understand what happened to Corrie, which will assist in providing answers to his family.
“We feel it is important to explain to the family what we are doing, so they have the opportunity to understand and question what we have done, and why we have done it.
“We are acutely aware of the immense strain the last 15 months has placed upon Corrie’s loved ones.
“We want them to be confident we are doing everything that it is practical for us to do as we strive to find Corrie.”
Despite concluding the search in landfill, officers confirmed that the investigation would continue as other lines of enquiry are continued.
A statement from Corrie’s father Martin McKeague said that the family were “humbled” by the support and concern, which the family would have been “lost without”.
For the full family statements see below.
Nicola Urquhart statement
Today sees the conclusion of the search of cell 22 at Milton landfill.
From the first day that myself, Makeyan and Darroch stood in the horseshoe and saw the industrial bins, we have consistently asked for that line of enquiry (theory) to be investigated and ruled out.
We have continually asked for this to happen, not because we have ever truly believed Corrie was in there, but it has always been the simplest explanation as to what may have happened to Corrie.
There are many things I can do to help in the search to find Corrie but I have always known that searching the landfill was and would never be something I could or would be allowed to do myself.
That would have left us in the torturous situation of left imagining that Corrie may have just been left there. Once all other lines of enquiry are exhausted if this didn’t find Corrie, I don’t think as a mother I could ever come to terms with not knowing if Corrie was in that landfill.
Our gratitude to Suffolk and Norfolk MIT for following this line of enquiry to what is most certainly beyond reasonable levels is unwavering.
This is the first time in this investigation I have been updated and completely agree that nothing else can be done in relation to searching cell 22.
The search team, have carried out an extremely physical and emotional task. I would hope that the invaluable knowledge they have now gained can be used with other forces should any other family find themselves in our position.
I know how hard they have tried to find Corrie and we will never be able to thank them enough for their efforts.
What I can say, is, my complete trust in Vince and his team leaves me certain that had Corrie been in that landfill, they would have found him.
The peace of mind they have given me is immeasurable. I will no longer picture my son in that landfill.
I have been assured that I will now be given updates as to what lines of enquiry have been investigated already and that these along with any thing else that is a reasonable line of enquiry will now be tested again or investigated.
The investigation to find Corrie is still very much a live investigation, we are still a very long way off saying that all that can be done has.
From the start, we have said Corrie is still in the area, left on foot or left on a vehicle.
We now know Corrie is not in the landfill.
Nicola, Makeyan, Corrie and Darroch x x x x
Martin McKeague statement
The McKeague family would like to extend its heartfelt appreciation and our lifelong debt of gratitude to the Norfolk and Suffolk police forces, the Major Investigation Team (MIT), the multitude of police volunteers who worked tirelessly at the Milton landfill site, the site owners, the Jones Brothers Excavation team, the wonderful people of Suffolk and the surrounding areas for their support and efforts and everyone closer to home who have stood up and stood by us, and allowed us to get through the darkest moments of this horrific event.
This family would have been lost without all of you and we have been humbled by your support and concern.
This has been our sentiment from the beginning of this search and it will continue until the end.
The Mckeague Family.