Human remains thought to be those of missing English teenager Leah Croucher have been found in an empty house just 1km from her home.
Police also discovered a rucksack and personal items belonging to the 19-year-old who vanished on her way to work in February 2019.
Leah had lived just 10 minutes away from the house in Milton Keynes in England’s south, and walked past it every day, The Sun reports.
A convicted paedophile, jailed for sex attacks on two teenagers, used to live in the house.
He was not living there when Leah went missing and locals say the property has been empty since 2019.
Neighbours claimed officers had knocked at the empty property during their 4,000 house-to-house enquiries after Leah’s disappearance.
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It is not known if they worked to gain access despite neighbours describing it as “creepy”.
Jill Davey, who lives close to the house, said: “Leah used to walk past the house every day. I would see her walking to work.
“It just sickens me. The police were meant to have searched all the houses around here, but they obviously didn’t do their job properly.”
Leah was last seen on CCTV just after 8.15am (local time) on February 15, 2019, as she headed to her job at a finance company.
The taekwondo fan was described by loved ones as “very quiet” and “not really an outgoing type of person”, preferring to read fantasy fiction or watch DVDs in her room to nights out at the pub.
Nine months after Leah’s disappearance, her heartbroken brother Hayden Croucher, 24, was discovered by his mother and sister Jade hanged at his flat and later died in hospital.
In a statement on the anniversary of Leah’s disappearance last February, her parents posted on social media: “Each day is torture. Each day feels like an eternity of pain and despair.”
Police yesterday confirmed a murder investigation had been launched after officers began searching the property on Monday.
Cleaners were said to have been working upstairs when they spotted the hidden remains.
It is understood the property, which has stood empty since 2019, is owned by a Kuwaiti businesswoman who let it out but she has no connection to the current police inquiry.
Neighbours described cleaning products being left in the windows and one said she had mown the front lawn over the years to stop the area looking scruffy.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter said: “Following a call to police on Monday, we attended an address and located items of concern within the property.
“We are dealing with a very difficult scene but we can now confirm that we have discovered a number of items that are linked to Leah, and as such, we have now launched a murder investigation.
“Leah’s family have been kept updated and continue to be supported by officers.”
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “This is a complex and challenging scene. We will continue to be at the scene for a significant period of time.”
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission