A MISSING teenager could have been abducted on the day she vanished.
The two-year-old cold case took a dramatic twist today after a driver revealed she saw a woman being pushed into car passenger seat.
Leah Croucher disappeared in February 2019 aged 19[/caption]
She was last seen at 8.20am heading towards Furzton Lake[/caption]
The 68-year-old told how she saw a pair of feet on the dashboard of a shiny black coupe car with the man behind the wheel aggressively pushing whoever was next to him down into the seat.
The motorist, who was stationary in a queue of traffic, said she contemplated getting out to check out the suspect vehicle, but the cars ahead starting moving.
She had been so concerned about the incident – which happened at about the same time that Leah disappeared – she reported it to police.
But the woman claims the call-taker seemed uninterested and, even after a second time reporting it, she never heard from cops again.
Thames Valley Police, which has unsuccessfully investigated Leah’s disappearance in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, since February 2019, said officers took “appropriate” action over the driver’s reports.
They refused to disclose further detail.
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The worried OAP decided to “go public” with her information for fear that police were ignoring her.
She said she was not interested in the £20,000 reward on offer for information leading to the discovery of Leah, but added if something came of it she would like the money to go to charity.
The woman is now urging to re-examine what she told that at the time on February 15 as it could provide a vital clue in the baffling case.
Discussing the details of what she saw on the day, the woman said it happened just yards away from Furzton Lake in Milton Keynes.
“Suddenly a right foot appeared on the dashboard, followed by a left foot,” she said. “I guessed they belonged to a female because of the size.
“I was stationary and the car was at a junction to the side of me, waiting to pull out, so I had quite a good view.”
As the witness watched, events took a turn so strange that she almost stopped her car and ran out to check if the unseen passenger was okay.
‘WAS IT SINISTER?’
She remembers the time clearly – it was between 8.35am and 8.40am.
Leah’s mobile phone left the network inexplicably at 8.34am in the area of Furzton Lake.
The witness said: “As I watched the car, the driver suddenly let go of the steering wheel with both hands, twisted himself around and pushed whoever the feet belonged to down really forcefully.
“He was using both hands and it seemed a very aggressive thing to do.
“It was like he was trying to hide someone.”
When the traffic started moving, the woman lost sight of the car, but it “continued to play on her mind”.
“Was it a father disciplining a naughty teenager perhaps for putting their feet on the dashboard? It looked too aggressive for that,” she said.
“Or was it something more sinister?”
Leah’s disappearance wasn’t widely reported until two or three days later.
She had vanished while walking to work the morning after Valentine’s Day – and there were no clues about what had happened to her.
“As soon as I heard about Leah, I called the number police were giving out on their appeal,” the woman said.
“Was it Leah I saw that morning? Had someone taken her and was trying to hide her?
“It seemed such a coincidence that it happened at almost exactly the same time and place.
“I may have been putting two and two together and making five, but I thought it was something police ought to know about.”
Since reporting what she saw a second time, she has been haunted by what might have happened to the shy, home-loving teenager – who would now been 22.
It seemed such a coincidence that it happened at almost exactly the same time and place.
She added: “I live quite close to the Croucher family and I knew Leah by sight.
“She seemed a lovely girl from a lovely family and always struck me as the type that would never disappear voluntarily.
“I’ve never stopped wondering if what I saw could be relevant. And I’m always thinking about Leah’s poor family and the heartbreak they must be going through in not knowing what happened to her.”
The woman, who was travelling along the H7 (Chaffron Way) towards central Milton Keynes, described the man driving the mystery car as between 30 and 40 with dark brown hair in a “mophead” style.
He was wearing a bottle green jumper and a long tan-coloured jacket.
She remembers the passenger’s shoes having dark soles, possibly boots, and it was pulling out of a junction onto the H7 on the road leading at a right angle directly from the lake.
Leah was last seen at 8.20am walking past ‘Tellytubby Hill’ on Furzton, opposite the Tesco Express, heading towards Furzton Lake on her way to work at her admin job at a finance company.
Since her disappearance, police have conducted numerous searches using specialist teams and divers, as well as carrying out door-to-door inquiries at 4,000 properties.
They have also reviewed 1,200 hours of CCTV footage and made widespread media appeals.
Despite the reward on offer, no clue as to what happened to her has been received, and there has been no trace of her phone, clothes or black rucksack handbag – which police admit is “baffling and frustrating”.
A spokesman Thames Valley Police said: “We can confirm that we have spoken to this individual about the reports that she has made to us and proportionate actions and inquiries were taken as a result of the information we received.
“Our investigation is still ongoing and we continue to ask anyone who may have information to please visit a police station, report online or call 101.”
Leah Croucher (right) with her sister Jade[/caption]
John and Claire Croucher, parents of missing Leah[/caption]