Leah Croucher's distraught father says the new year 'feels hollow'

‘Two. We’ve lost two now’: Missing Leah Croucher’s distraught father says the new year ‘feels hollow’ in a heartbreaking message after his son, 24, took his own life in November

  • John Croucher said his family started 2019 with ‘a world of hope at our feet’
  • But now a new phrase, ‘two… we’ve lost two now’, is driving the family insane 
  • Leah disappeared aged 19 on February 15 last year while walking to work
  • And in November that year her 24-year-old brother Haydon was found dead 
  • Father John says the family cannot bring themselves to celebrate New Year

The distraught father of missing Leah Croucher and her brother Haydon – who took his own life two months ago – says the family’s New Year ‘feels hollow’ following their tragic loss. 

Devastated John Croucher says they started 2019 with ‘three beautiful children and a world of hope at our feet’, but then recalls how thoughts of Leah’s whereabouts and Haydon’s death have left the family ‘tired and broken’. 

Leah disappeared without a trace aged 19 on February 15 last year while walking to work. She has not been seen since despite a huge police search.

In November, the day after the nine month anniversary of his sister’s death, her 24-year-old brother Haydon was found dead.

John, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, said that a new phrase is driving the family insane: ‘Two. We’ve lost two now.’ 

Haydon (left) and Leah Croucher (right) with their father John in their Taekwondo attire. John says they started 2019 with ‘three beautiful children and a world of hope at our feet’


Haydon Croucher (left), 24, was found by his mother and sister Jade at his flat in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. He was the brother of missing Leah Croucher (right)

John, pictured with Leah, added that a new phrase is driving the family insane: ‘Two. We’ve lost two now.’

Now John, 45, has revealed he was almost ‘jealous’ of Haydon, not having to go another day without finding Leah’s fate.

And on New Year’s Eve he wrote a heartbreaking message with ‘tears rolling down my face’, saying the family’s ‘world fell apart’ when Leah disappeared early last year.  

‘We tried to stay strong. Stay hopeful. It was impossible,’ he said.

He explained the mixed emotions of finding out body parts police recovered did not belong to Leah.

‘The horrible worry that these random body parts may be all we get back of our beautiful daughter,’ John said.

‘The relief when told it’s not her. The pain at realising we’ve had all that horror and are still no closer to an answer.’

John then revealed the torment of learning what happened to his son, Haydon.

Haydon’s sister Leah, with whom he was very close, has not been seen since February this year

He said: ‘In November watching as your son’s internal organs slowly stop working and you have to take the decision to turn off that magic machinery which is keeping him here with us.

‘So many medications being pumped into him. None of it working. Justifying it to yourself with the thoughts we have been clinging to his shell.’

He added: ‘Begging him at the last minute to change his mind and come back to us. Knowing it was pointless. Knowing he didn’t want to face another day of not knowing Leah’s fate. Jealous of him almost.’

John says he, his wife Claire, and eldest child Jade have a new phrase driving them insane.

He wrote: ‘TWO. WE’VE LOST TWO NOW. OVER AND OVER.’

John explained: ‘Time is not making our pain easier to bear. Watching our oldest and now only child suffer. Thinking of how we will now not have weddings to attend or grandchildren to babysit and enjoy.

Leah, pictured the day she disappeared. She was last seen by her family on Quantock Crescent, Emerson Valley, in Milton Keynes at around 10pm on February 14

‘Christmas has gone. It was bleak. Desolate. Lonely. Quiet. No decorations. No presents. No special dinner.’

As well as cancelling Christmas, the family did not celebrate New Year’s Eve.

He wrote: ‘The phrase Happy New Year feels hollow on our lips. Tomorrow we will lock ourselves away for the day, as we did over Christmas. 

‘Forgive us for being rude but we just don’t feel able to pretend at the minute.

‘We are tired and broken.’

John ended the New Year’s message with a plea to help bring the pain and suffering to an end.  

‘Help us to find out what happened to our daughter. We miss her so much it’s unbearable.’

Leah was last seen by her family on Quantock Crescent, Emerson Valley, in Milton Keynes at around 10pm on February 14. She was reported missing the next day.

A confirmed sighting of Leah was reported the next day in Buzzacott Lane, Furzton, Bucks, just after 8.15am.

Anyone with information about Leah can contact Thames Valley Police on 101, quoting the reference 43190049929.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

  • If you need to speak to someone, Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123  

John Croucher’s heartbreaking New Year appeal to find Leah – in full 

We started 2019 with three beautiful children and a world of hope at our feet.

In February our youngest, Leah disappeared from the face of the earth. Our world fell apart. We tried to stay strong. Stay hopeful. It was impossible. Press conferences, specialist searches of lakes and woodland. News interviews. Sleepless nights. Never ending worry which is physically draining. Trying to carry on and trying to maintain some kind of normality in our now crazy, upside down world. 

News of DNA testing for a foot in Humberside, a partial scalp in Houghton Regis. The horrible worry that these random body parts may be all we get back of our beautiful daughter. The relief when told it’s not her. The pain at realising we’ve had all that horror and are still no closer to an answer. The sorrow because that foot belonged to some young woman. Her poor family.

Receiving help from so many kind hearted and well meaning family, friends and strangers alike.

All the time with the same question at the front of your thoughts WHERE ARE YOU LEAH? OVER AND OVER. Until you feel you are going insane.

Feeling as if you are going to drown in compassion and despair.

HOW does someone disappear in this technological age??

HOW does no one know what happened??

HOW are we meant to cope?? Survive??

How are we meant to support the two children we have here with us still??

Then in November watching as your son’s internal organs slowly stop working and you have to take the decision to turn off that magic machinery which is keeping him here with us. So many medications being pumped into him. None of it working. Justifying it to yourself with the thoughts we have been clinging to his shell. Haydon left us days ago. We just refused to accept it. Begging him at the last minute to change his mind and come back to us. Knowing it was pointless. Knowing he didn’t want to face another day of not knowing Leah’s fate. Jealous of him almost.

And now a new phrase in our minds to drive us insane. TWO. WE’VE LOST TWO NOW. OVER AND OVER.

I sit here writing this with tears rolling down my face as they do every time I write.

Time is not making our pain easier to bear. Watching our oldest and now only child suffer. Thinking of how we will now not have weddings to attend or grandchildren to babysit and enjoy.

Christmas has gone. It was bleak. Desolate. Lonely. Quiet. No decorations. No presents. No special dinner. Just billboards courtesy of Missing People displaying photos of our missing daughter around the town of MK. Just another search of land, this time in Bedford. Just a trip to a graveyard on Christmas Day. Haydon hopefully enjoyed the bottle of his favourite Ciroc vodka we poured on his grave.

Today is New Year’s Eve. The phrase Happy New Year feels hollow on our lips. Tomorrow we will lock ourselves away for the day, as we did over Christmas. Forgive us for being rude but we just don’t feel able to pretend at the minute. We are tired and broken. NO ONE should have to bear pain in this volume. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

So many people have been affected by one young ladies disappearance and one young man’s death. It isn’t just us, their immediate family that have been affected. Friends, work colleagues and our taekwondo family have all felt the despair and pain.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this past year. The shares and retweets on social media. Donations to just giving pages. The poster coverage worldwide. The kind words and food. The hugs. The press coverage. The police support. Charity support. Small business displaying Leah’s posters on their work vans. Work colleagues running super marathons. Our kind anonymous angel with the donation of the £5000 reward money. Thank you every single person.

The year ends as it quickly began for us. We still have to beg you………..

Please help us to end our pain and suffering. Help us to find out what happened to our daughter. We miss her so much it’s unbearable.

#comehomeleah.

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