Police investigating the disappearance of Leah Croucher are investigating a photo showing a shadowy figure captured on Google Earth.
The satellite image was spotted by a member of the public while studying a barn believed to be connected to the teenager, who vanished while walking to work on February 15, 2019.
Web sleuths say the picture was taken by a disused barn in Eaton Bray, 18 miles from Leah’s home in Milton Keynes, a month later.
It was passed on to police, who have confirmed they are looking into it.
The barn, along with a large house, are on grounds which were searched as part of the investigation nearly two years ago.
Neighbours said they saw police ‘digging up the grounds’ as part of the hunt, but ‘nothing seemed to come of the search’.
However, talk of Eaton Bray resurfaced on an online forum named Web Sleuths, along with a Facebook page called Leah Croucher Disappearance – Community Investigation, this month.
One curious member decided to try and find the property on Google Maps to see what it looked like and how big the grounds were before spotting the mysterious figure.
She said: ‘I zoomed in on the house then moved the cursor along to one of the barns next to it. I zoomed in, then zoomed again – and then I couldn’t believe my eyes.
‘I could see someone in one of the barns, looking out of a big open window. It was clearly a female and looked as though she had a red blanket of jacket round her. She was just sitting there.’
The member noticed the date on the Google Earth image was March 2019 – a month after Leah, then 19, disappeared.
She went on: ‘The more I looked at the photo, the more it seemed to resemble Leah. The girl looks the same age, she has the same hairline, same eyes, and same lovely slightly chubby cheeks.
‘It made shivers run down my spine. Could this be Leah – alive – in March 2019? And if so, how did she get to be in a barn?
‘It looks as though she was in hiding or someone had hidden her – but why? The questions were running through my head.’
The following morning the woman went to Milton Keynes police station and handed the information to police. Details of the former owner of the property who fled in fear of the gang, were also passed to detectives.
She handed a copy of the photo into officers in Milton Keynes the following morning.
A police spokesman said: ‘Thames Valley Police can confirm it received some images, which are being reviewed by the investigation team into the disappearance of Leah Croucher.
‘We would always continue to urge the public to contact Thames Valley Police with any information that may assist the investigation, either by calling 101 or making a report online, or by visiting Milton Keynes police station.
‘It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment further on these images, as they are currently with the investigation team. However, we have no issues with this being reporting in the media.’
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