The mother of a missing teenager said it is “unbelievable” that her daughter has not contacted anyone in the last week and that the family are beside themselves with worry.
Leah Croucher, 19, was last seen in Buzzacott Lane in Furzton, Milton Keynes, just after 8.15am on Friday February 15.
Her parents, Claire and John Croucher, said her disappearance is “highly unusual” as they appealed for information seven days after she was last seen.
At an emotional press conference on Friday morning, Mrs Croucher said: “She mainly chooses to communicate with her friends through social media or text.
“It’s unbelievable to her family and friends that she would choose not to contact any of us for the past seven days in any of the formats that are available to the youth of today.
“She would not wish to cause worry or the fuss that has arisen due to her highly unusual disappearance.
“She is a creature of habit who loves her home comforts.”
Pausing to compose herself, Mrs Croucher added: “Leah, if you are able to hear or see me as I read this, please, please get in touch or, better still, come home.
“It doesn’t have to be me or Dad that you contact.
“You can call, text, email, Facebook or Snapchat anybody you feel comfortable with getting in touch.
“Just show us that you are safe.
“Your family, friends, work colleagues and the taekwondo community across the world are extremely concerned for your welfare.
“Just drop someone a call to say you are OK.
“We are beside ourselves with worry.”
Thames Valley Police Chief Inspector Neil Kentish said there have been two unconfirmed sightings of a female who “may be Leah” in the area of the Teardrop Lakes at approximately 8.45am on February 15, and that searches are being carried out.
“It is totally out of character for Leah to go missing,” he said.
“She hasn’t spoken to her family and friends, she hasn’t used her mobile phone or accessed her bank.
“She hasn’t used social media.
“We need your help to find Leah. Have you seen her? Have you spoken to her? Do you know somebody that’s spoken to her or has met her?
“We would like to hear from anybody with CCTV or dash cam footage from Furzton, Emerson Valley, Shenley Lodge, Knowlhill and surrounding roads on Friday the 15th between 8am and 11am.”
Mr Kentish said Ms Croucher walks from her house in Emerson Valley to work at a finance company in Knowlhill every day, and that CCTV images of her captured last Friday morning might help people remember.
“She seems completely normal while she’s walking to work,” he said, adding: “For all intents and purposes it’s her usual routine walking to work.”
Ms Croucher is described as white and of slim build, with below shoulder-length brown hair, and sometimes wears glasses.
She was last seen wearing a black coat, black skinny jeans and black Converse high top shoes, and was carrying a small black rucksack.
Mr Kentish said a dedicated team of about 50 officers is involved in the missing person investigation and they have knocked on more than 4,000 doors in Milton Keynes as part of the inquiry.
He said police are keeping an open mind and using all resources available including dogs and helicopters.
Anyone with information can go to a police station, call 101, or visit the police website.
In her statement, Mrs Croucher said: “Leah is a bright, confident and loving 19-year-old.
“She loves fantasy fiction, both reading it, writing it, and publishing it herself on the internet.
“She loves watching DVD box sets in her bedroom.
“She doesn’t really like pubs or clubbing much and generally comes home by 1am at the latest if she does go out.
“She is a family-orientated person who cares deeply about her family and her friends. She is kind and generous and always helps people any way she can.
“She loves taekwondo and attends classes with her dad.
“We are going on a family holiday in just under two weeks which Leah was really looking forward to. She had helped us pick out the hotel at the airport the night before.
“She has an excellent sense of humour and her cheeky side shines through.”
Mrs Croucher thanked family, friends and colleagues for their support at this “impossible time”.
She also thanked the police for their efforts to find her daughter, adding that the family wishes them “all the luck in the universe”.
Appealing to Leah, Mrs Croucher said: “Nan and Grandad are beside themselves with worry. Your brother and sister, your aunties and uncles are worried.
“Everyone wants you to be safe Leah. Please come home.
“You are not in any trouble because we love you so much. We want our beautiful, wonderful little girl to come home.
“If there is something bothering you we can help you to fix it.
“You are not alone. You will never be alone as long as me and dad are here.
“We will support you in any way we can. Always. But you have to come home to us so we can help.
“We miss you terribly. Please, please call us so we can come and get you. We love you so much.”
On Friday afternoon, police tape blocked off a section next to one of the Teardrop Lakes and a team from specialist search company Specialist Group International were searching the lakes.
Jonathan Lelliott, the dive supervisor of the team of five, said the small inflatable boat on the lake was searching underwater with a high-tech sonar system.
He said the police’s primary concern was whether Leah had gone into the water.
“At the request of Thames Valley Police we will continue to assist with the search looking for any items of obvious interest or concern to the investigation team,” he said.
Mr Lelliott said his company was treating the case as a missing person investigation.
A van from the company with the words “Underwater Search” and “Rescue” written on it was parked beside the lake.
What appeared to be diving suits or wet suits were hanging from a door of the van.
The team arrived on Thursday at midday and anticipate continuing the search into the weekend.
Mr Lelliott said that if the sonar equipment picks up anything of interest, divers are then sent underwater to investigate further.
As of Friday afternoon, nothing of significance had been found, Mr Lelliott said.