‘Nothing found’ in Milton landfill search for Corrie McKeague
PUBLISHED: 18:25 21 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:25 21 July 2017
Police searching for missing airman Corrie McKeague at the Milton landfill site have not found anything related his disappearance – and the search has been called off.
Corrie Mckeague, 23, has not been seen since a night out in Bury St Edmunds last September, when CCTV showed him entering a bin loading bay.
Officers are now in the 20th week of a targeted search at the n landfill site directed by the information and intelligence gathered as part of the investigation.
Although they have been finding waste from the correct period throughout the work, no trace of Corrie has been found.
The search team completed the work by 3pm this afternoon (Friday July 21) and will have searched through more than 6,500 tonnes of waste.
Detective Superintendent Katie Elliott said: “Our thoughts are with Corrie’s family as we had hoped that this search would have provided them with the answers about what happened to him.
“This has been an unprecedented search, in the scale and amount of waste that has been examined. We have searched the whole area where we believed Corrie could be. We had compelling information that directed us to this area however we haven’t found Corrie and this is bitterly disappointing.
“We have searched over 6,500 tonnes of waste, excavating a huge area. Without anything further to tell us where he might be on such a vast site the search cannot continue.
“Sadly, we have not found Corrie or any trace of his clothing or mobile phone.”
Det Supt Elliot said the investigation has been continuing during the search, “but all the information we have still points to the fact that Corrie was transported from the ‘horseshoe’ area in the bin lorry”.
She continued: “Having been through all of the possibilities in detail, there is nothing to support any theory other than that Corrie was in the bin.
“There are no further sightings of him on CCTV to suggest he left the area, and we have explored the other possibilities as to how he left – such as being taken from the area by someone – and there is no evidence to support that this is the case.
“On CCTV he appears to be alone and we have traced and spoken to everyone who walked through Brentgovel Street around the relevant time, and none of them have seen anything suspicious.
“We know that Corrie’s phone travelled away from Bury St Edmunds at the same time as the bin lorry that collected waste from Brentgovel Street. The theory that Corrie was in the bin that was emptied into the bin lorry shortly after he was last seen is strengthened by credible information that we have obtained through our enquiries that Corrie had been known to go to sleep in rubbish, following a night out.
“We’ve explored every other reasonable hypothesis – and there is nothing to support any other explanation.”
Officers have been exploring all possibilities since the start of the missing person investigation. The initial CCTV work has given detectives a good picture of who was in the area at the relevant times and police have a number of statements which corroborate each other after cross-referencing various witness accounts.
Police have been looking at what may have happened including whether Corrie got into the bin himself or whether it may have been physically possible for someone to have lifted someone of Corrie’s build into the bin between the last confirmed sighting at 3.25am and the bin lorry collection around 4.18am, and whether there could have been an accident or any criminal activity.
Officers have also looked at Corrie’s previous behaviour and have spoken to friends and colleagues about his actions during and following a night out.
Suffolk Police have commissioned a review of the work completed since the start of the investigation to see if anything further can be done to trace Corrie McKeague.
It is estimated the investigation has cost more than £1.2million to date, the vast majority of this relating to the cost of searching the site.
“We have been absolutely committed to finding Corrie and none of us wanted to be in this position, where we are unable to provide the answer.
“This has been one of the biggest and most complex searches of a landfill site in the country. This search process has been reviewed as it has been carried out and what we have learned and the expertise gathered during the search is now being called upon by other constabularies.
“We would like to thank contractors and staff at the site for all their assistance throughout the work.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk understood the necessity to do this work and provided the funds for this search.