A murder inquiry has been launched by detectives searching for a missing woman who has not been seen since 2019.
Officers from Thames Valley Police found a rucksack and personal items belonging to Leah Croucher after a tip-off from a member of the public on Monday.
Specialist teams are still searching a property in Loxbeare Drive, Furzton, Milton Keynes, where the items were found, and will remain there “for a significant period of time”, the force said.
Ms Croucher, 19, was reported missing on February 15 2019.
Leah Croucher Thames Valley Police
She was last seen on CCTV in Buzzacott Lane, Furzton, just after 8.15am on February 15 2019, walking in the direction of Loxbeare Drive and Chaffron Way.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter said: “Following a call to police on Monday, we attended an address and located items of concern within the property.
“We are dealing with a very difficult scene but we can now confirm that we have discovered a number of items that are linked to Leah, and as such we have now launched a murder investigation, led by our Major Crime Unit.
Leah Croucher arriving for work the day before she went missing Thames Valley Police
“Leah’s family have been kept updated and continue to be supported by officers, and we are urging the public and media to think of her family and not to speculate further while this investigation is in the early stages.
“We will provide further updates when we are able to do so.
“There remains a scene watch in place at the address while this investigation continues, and we are committed to ensuring that our inquiries at the scene are thorough.”
He said hundreds of officers and staff have worked on the search for Ms Croucher in the past three and a half years, scouring 1,200 hours of CCTV and carrying out 4,000 house-to-house inquiries.
Mr Hunter added: “The call from the member of the public that we received on Monday was the first occasion that we were alerted to this address, and we thank them for contacting us immediately to report their concerns.
“Our thoughts remain with Leah’s family and friends, and we will continue to offer them all the support that they need.”