Horrifying truth behind vanishing act
CORRIE McKeague walked into the night after clubbing with friends and vanished into thin air - but after two years of heartache and confusion for his family it seems he suffered an almost unbelievable fate.
The 23-year-old airman with the Royal Air Force disappeared in the small town of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in Britain's southeast, triggering an intense missing persons investigation. As police and media scrutinised his life, details emerged of swinging sessions and that he enjoyed S & M.
He was recorded walking into a cul-de-sac known as the "Horseshoe", an area that police said was impossible for him to have walked out of without being captured on CCTV.
In the days leading up to the vanishing act he also found out his partner April was pregnant.
Data from Mr McKeague's mobile phone showed it travelled out of the area and mirrored the movements of a rubbish truck heading for a landfill. An analysis of the truck showed it was carrying a load less than 15kg, dashing hopes he could have fallen asleep inside as he was known to occasionally do.
In an online message Martin McKeague told supporters he had accepted the fact "Corrie is no longer missing".
"What we mean by this is that after looking at all of the facts and evidence we now know what happened to my son. We are certain he is somewhere in the Suffolk waste disposal system, but his remains are essentially irretrievable."
He said he was making a public statement to clarify some facts surrounding his son's disappearance.
Police had shown the family "compelling" evidence that convinced him that his son was lost in the waste system.
"But unlike other missing persons investigations where they do not know where their loved one is or what happened to them, we do know what happened to Corrie and we have to accept that it is impossible to search those areas for him now."
Accepting that was not easy, especially as it meant grappling with the realisation it was impossible to find him in such a vast and "toxic" environment.
"We thought there might be a small glimmer of hope for the McKeague family that a card reader could be used to identify the whereabouts of Corrie's bank card in the landfill site. I myself searched the internet to see if that technology could help but found nothing to support that theory."
Sadly, there was no technology available for that to happen.
He confirmed police had ruled out every single vehicle seen in "The Horseshoe" at the critical times, and there was no possibility he was given a lift or walked out unseen.
It was the investigators' belief that Mr McKeague climbed into a bin to sleep.
"And we are certain that Corrie was known to sleep in and on top of bins, a fact that has been corroborated by the Suffolk police from their interviews."
He revealed the weight of the lorry was in fact 116kg, much higher than originally thought.
"There has also been confusion about the actual weight of the bin. It has been suggested that the weight of the Biffa bin was 11kg. It was not. That figure was for a different bin - the last bin on the lorry route to be emptied."
He continued: "The Biffa bin that Corrie entered in the Horseshoe was the first on the route, with a recorded weight of 116kg; an unusually high number for this bin, which tells us my son was inside. The facts and evidence show Corrie didn't walk out or leave the Horseshoe in any way other than the back of that Biffa bin lorry."
But not all the family were willing to believe the police version of events.
In a separate post, Mr McKeague's mother Nicola Urquhart said she was determined to get answers and had "not given up".
"If any person feels they have the answers they need to move on, I completely respect that.
I can only keep fighting for the answers I need. To do what helps get me, my son's and our family through this."
She was careful not to criticise her former partner.
"This is NOT a criticism of how any other person deals with their guilt or grief. They should quite rightly do what works for them.
"Having said this, I can tell by the hundreds of messages and calls we are getting that there is some confusion, some people think Makeyan, Darroch and I have given up.
WE HAVE NOT GIVEN UP.
Corrie is missing, he has not been found, nor has their been any corroborated evidence shown to me yet to say what has happened to my son."
Police said in March there were "no realistic lines of inquiry left" in the investigation.
The investigation has cost £2.1m and hundreds of people were spoken to by police who spent thousands of hours on the baffling inquiry. But in April they quietly closed the official investigation and the file was handed to Major Crime Review Team - effectively becoming a cold case.