The family of missing airman Corrie McKeague have spoken of their ‘lifelong debt of gratitude’ to police, after a search at a landfill site ended today.
Police trying to find Corrie completed their search of a second area at Milton landfill site, which started on October 23. Although the information available indicated this was the next most likely area where Corrie might be found following an original 20-week search of the cell earlier this year, there was no trace of him.
Police said today they were content Corrie was not in the landfill areas which had been searched.
Martin McKeague, Corrie’s father, said: “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.”
The inquiry team said it had identified all the other possible locations where waste had been deposited from the area in Bury St Edmunds where Corrie was last seen and there were no further realistic search opportunities.
As previously stated, the nature of waste disposal and its movement is not an exact science. The primary hypothesis – that Corrie ended up in the waste disposal process – was endorsed by a review of the investigation undertaken by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).
The investigation into Corrie’s disappearance on September 24, 2016, continues.
He was last seen on CCTV entering a loading bay in the ‘horseshoe’ following a night out. CCTV in Bury town centre has already been viewed up to 4pm on 24th September 2016 and Corrie has not been seen to leave.
Police said today they would continue to scrutinise other theories to establish and understand what might have happened to him.
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, which will assist in providing answers to his family.
“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.”
Nicola Urquhart, Corrie’s mother, said: “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.”
Suffolk Police thanked FCC Environment, owner of Milton landfill site, for its support and co-operation during the inquiry.
The total amount searched in the second phase was 2,867.5 tonnes.
Statement from Martin McKeague – Dec 2017
“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
Statement from Nicola Urquhart – Dec 2017
“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.”
Thank you, Nicola, Makeyan, Corrie and Darroch x x x x