Human remains found in the loft of an empty house are those of missing teenager Leah Croucher, police have confirmed.
The 19-year-old went missing on 15 February 2019 and police mounted a three-year campaign to find her, culminating with the launch of a murder inquiry last week.
The remains were found at a house in Loxbeare Drive in Milton Keynes, which police searched after a tip-off from a member of the public, alongside a rucksack and other items belonging to Miss Croucher.
A Home Office post-mortem conducted last week was inconclusive as to the cause of death and the investigation continues, said police.
Det Supt Kevin Brown, head of Thames Valley Police's major crime unit, said: “After a difficult process, we are now in a position to formally confirm that the body found in Loxbeare Drive last week is that of Leah.
“The grief and shock of Leah’s family and friends is unimaginable, and they have shown enormous courage, patience and dignity over the last three years and eight months while our search for Leah continued.
“They have always been supportive of Thames Valley Police, both during our extensive missing person investigation and this subsequent investigation into Leah’s murder."
He added: “Our investigations into Leah’s murder will leave no stone unturned, and we owe it to Leah’s family to ensure we find the truth.
“We are absolutely committed to doing so, to allow them to gain an understanding of what happened to Leah.”
On 14 October police named maintenance man Neil Maxwell as the prime suspect for Miss Croucher's murder.
He was the only person with keys to the Loxbeare Drive house at the time of Ms Croucher’s disappearance, police said.
They said he was a convicted sex offender and was wanted for further, unrelated, offences at the time of Miss Croucher's disappearance.
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