A few months ago I launched my new series – Missing Monday – where I feature a missing person case, giving them a voice and sharing their story. I’m one of those people that are weirdly interested in crime and particularly missing people so this is something that’s really close to my heart.
I’ve also launched a podcast to go with this, so make sure you take a peek at that too. It’s launched today and this week I’m talking about two cases – Corrie McKeague and Jennifer Kesse.
However, since announcing this series a while ago I’ve let my blogging game slip and hence this post is a lot later than it was meant to be. But anywho it’s here and it’s time to get back in the swing of things.
Anyway enough of an introduction.
This week I’ve decided to start with a case that is incredibly relevant and so we are talking about the disappearance of Corrie McKeague. I thought it was important to get this case featured as soon as possible because it’s one that could easily be solved, one person could have the information needed.
Who is Corrie McKeague?
Corrie McKeague is 23 years old, he is the middle child in a family of three and is originally from Fife in Scotland.
A lively lad who is full of life, he has been described as a “social hand grenade”, someone who was very friendly and loved meeting people.
Physically he is described as being white, about 5ft10in tall and medium build with light brown hair.
For the last three years, Corrie has been posted at RAF Horrington as a Senior Airman in the regimental gunners, 2 squadron C flight, working as a team medic. The RAF base is only 10 miles north of Bury St Edmunds, the location from where Corrie went missing.
The timeline of Corrie’s disappearance
On Friday the 23rd of September 2016, Corrie drove from RAF Horrington to the local town of Bury St Edmunds to meet some friends for a night out. There was a misunderstanding over whether he was going out or not and as a result he was accidently left behind. Essentially there were two cars heading into town and there was some confusion over which car Corrie was to go in, with both drivers thinking that he was in the other car. So he drove himself and arranged to meet his friends once he arrived.
He was wearing a pink Ralph Lauren top, white trousers, and brown Timberland boots.
At 10 pm he parked his BMW Z4 on Robert Boby Way and sat in the car on the phone with his brother for over an hour as they were making plans for the following weekend. After meeting up with his friends, the group headed to So Bar on Hatter’s Street.
At 11.30am Corrie and his friends headed to the Wetherspoons Corn Exchange where onlookers said Corrie was lively and chatty. A young woman who was there that evening reports Corrie as being extremely friendly and states he was approaching tables and saying hello. The lady reported that she remembered him because of his outfit.
In the early hours of Saturday, the 24th of September Corrie was separated from his friends after being asked to leave Flex night club on St Andrews Street South. The doorman stated that Corrie had clearly had enough to drink and that he was starting to draw attention to himself, he left amicably. Corrie left the club and he headed to his favourite takeaway place, Pizza Mamma Mia, where he seemed happy and even played rock, paper, scissors with a stranger. This was something that friendly Corrie liked to do in order to break the ice with someone.
At 1.20am on the 24th of September, Corrie was caught on CCTV opposite the Grapes Pub on Bentgovel Street, he was eating his takeaway and did not seem to be in any trouble. In this footage, it is easy to see that Corrie was drunk and he stumbles several times. It was this CCTV which was first released to the public by the police. Around this time Corrie takes a nap for roughly two hours in the doorway of Hughes electrical sore on Bentgovel Street. This perhaps shows how drunk he was because his car was not far from the area and he could have slept in the back of that had he thought of it.
At 3.08am a friend of Corrie’s received a picture that Corrie had sent using WhatsApp. It was from a previous night out.
It was initially believed that he had sent this image at this time, however, it is now understood that his friend received the image at 3.08am but police do not know the time it was actually sent. In a recent facebook post, Corrie’s mother stated she was hopeful that CCTV would show that he was using his phone around 3 am as at this point Corrie is still sat in the doorway. However, if they are unable to prove this it adds another layer to the mystery because it might have meant that Corrie had lost his phone earlier, something that could be important to a later element of the case.
At 3.24am Corrie gets up and walks away from the doorway, he heads past the junction of St John Street and walks towards Cornhill Walk. In this CCTV Corrie seems to be looking about quite a bit and looks towards the street where the camera is positioned on two occasions. A minute later Corrie turned right into a loading and refuge area behind Greggs.
This area is known locally as the “horseshoe” and if you look at an aerial image it is easy to see why. This was the last time he was caught on CCTV and he was never caught leaving the area. It has since proven that it would have been impossible for him to leave the area without being caught on CCTV (see map below, credit to the find Corrie website). In the map you can clearly see that had he evaded one camera, he would have been caught on another.
The area and buildings have been searched and analysed but nothing was found.
On the 26th of September Corrie is reported missing after he fails to turn up at the military base. A day later on the 27th of September, the media is told of his disappearance.
On the 16th of January 2017, it was confirmed that cadaver dogs were now being used around the town centre.
Between 3.24am and 4.30am police can trace Corrie’s phone as traveling at the speed of a vehicle from Bury St Edmunds to the Barton Mills area, around 13 miles away. It was switched offer a few hours later. The route the phone took coincided with the movements of a bin lorry. Surrey police seized and searched it but Corrie’s phone was never found.
What do we know?
The police have identified 3.30am and 5.30am as the key time frame during which they believe Corrie disappeared.
It’s really important to point out that the police and the RAF have never treated this as a case of AWOL. In fact, from the very beginning, it was treated as a missing person case and police now claim that it is being resourced as they would resource a murder.
It seems extremely unlikely that Corrie had any running away from the base and in today’s day and age it is impossible to disappear without leaving any kind of footprint.
It’s also worth noting that Corrie’s dog had been left in his room at the RAF base. The “love of his life” – his pug crossed french bulldog was not officially allowed on the base and was hidden in his room. As a result of Corrie’s disappearance, the puppy was left alone – with water – for a few days. This surely shows that he had every intention of returning that night, he would not have left that puppy alone like that. It is now with his family.
This opinion is also backed up by retired detective Colin Sutton who believes that Corrie was likely the victim of foul play.
Obviously, 3.30am is the starting point because it is around the time that Corrie arrives in the horseshoe area but I’m not sure why the cut off time is 5.30am. As other people have stated it is possible that Corrie could have fallen asleep again and in that case, he could have been sleeping longer.
Using this time frame the police have been able to identify 4 crucial vehicles that entered the horseshoe area and a number of individuals who were around the area at the time.
The four vehicles have all been identified and two have been completely ruled out as having any connection to Corrie’s disappearance, as they had valid reasons for being in the area at the time. However, the other two are more interesting.
One of these has not publicly been discussed however Corrie’s mother said that their reason for being in the area was suspect and she would like to see more investigation done into that.
The fourth vehicle is by far the most interesting.
At 4.20am a Biffa trash truck enters the horseshoe area, it’s the first vehicle to do so and was there to collecting rubbish from Greggs. It picks up the bin, weighs it and then empties the trash into the back of the truck. It’s in the area for roughly four minutes before leaving for its next destination. Around the same time as the truck enters and leaves the area Corrie’s phone starts to move at the speed of a vehicle and it’s pattern happens to follow the exact same track as the bin lorry. It last pings in the Barton Mills area and a few hours later the phone is turned off.
When the rubbish was weighed outside the collection point it only weighed 33lbs because it was primarily made of cardboard and paper. It is, therefore, safe to assume that Corrie was not in the bin at the time, however, it has been acknowledged that it is likely that his phone ended up in the back of the truck. The Biffa truck was later searched and analysed by a collision expert and no evidence was found to suggest that Corrie was in the truck or was involved in an accident of any sort. The local landfill site has not been investigated, so it is now unlikely that the phone will ever be found.
While the family has stopped short of criticising the police over their failure to investigate the landfill site, Corrie’s mother Nicola has stated that she does believe that this was a mistake. While police can see when the phone was turned off and used for calls, other apps can only be accessed using the phone itself. So, for example, it is possible that Corrie was contacting and arranging to meet somebody via WhatsApp but that this has not been seen. This could be even more likely as it has recently been revealed that Corrie was on a number of social and dating websites.
The driver of the truck was interviewed and he claimed to have seen Corrie in the area when he was collecting the bin from Gregs. However this now seems unlikely and it is more probable that he saw another male. When the driver attended the destination after the horseshoe, he was caught on CCTV and was seen doing his job and acting normally. While these investigations are still ongoing, the driver is not a suspect and it’s important to remember that he was only in the are for four minutes. Hardly enough time to cover anything up.
On the 10th of January 2017, the back of a mobile phone was found in the area where Corrie’s phone last pinged but there was no identifying evidence connected to it. As a result, police are not currently investigating that any further.
As I mentioned earlier we also know that it would have been pretty much impossible for Corrie to have left the horseshoe area without being caught on one of the CCTV. This is even more unlikely when you consider that he was clearly drunk at the time and probably wasn’t conscious enough to evade all the cameras.
The bulk of the buildings in the horseshoe are commercial properties and have been searched for signs of Corrie. These buildings are connected to the main street so had Corrie gone through one of them he would still have been caught on CCTV. Only one of the buildings in that area is not a business and that is, in fact, a rehab centre, so this could add another element to this case.
However, police stated that on the night in question police have no record that anyone was in that building. Yet Nicola – Corrie’s mother – states that when visited the area looking for her son, a number of people were around that building and asked her not to say that they were there. It is, therefore, posisble that on the night Corrie disappeared people were staying there and the police nor the rehab centre would ever really know.
The horseshoe area has been thoroughly searched forensically however police have not yet gone all the way down the road, this is something that Nicola would like to see investigated further.
At the time of writing this post police had identified and spoken to nearly everyone they spotted on the CCTV. However, they are still looking for the following individuals. (In the picture with the bike, they are only looking for the person on the bike).
If you think that you know these people, please phone the police.
The BMW which belonged to Corrie is now back with his family and as of yet the keys have not been formally identified. A set of BMW keys were found but it was later said that the person who found the keys believed they actually belonged to a family member. These have not been formally ruled out and there needs to be some investigation into this.
The police have also received information from two individuals that had information linked to a local road. Interestingly it has been stated that this information corroborated and it is the only evidence that does.
The day after Corrie went missing there was alos reports of three men trying to burn a car in the local area. This has not been fully investigated.
On a recent live Q and A on Facebook Nicola wouldn’t say if there were any suspects in the case, however, she did say that there were “lines of inquiry” which the police were following in relation to the case.
What do I think?
For me, this is one of the strangest cases that I have ever chosen to write about and I think this is because of the small area from which Corrie vanished. In all honesty I am not really sure what I think.
I believe that Corrie has not chosen to run away or go AWOL, I think this has been completely disproven and I don’t even think it needs to be considered.
I think that Corrie was either the victim of a crime or the victim of an accident but it’s really hard to know which one of these.
If I had to guess I am leaning more towards the idea that something sinister happened to Corrie that evening but I really hope that I am wrong.
Unlike most of the other cases that I have planned to cover in this series, this case is developing on a week by week basis and it’s still one that could be solved so easily. All it takes is for one person to come forward with the needed information and the parents could have the answers they need.
For more information please visit the find Corrie website, where there are all kinds of helpful information.
Updated – 3rd March 2017
Police are now making arrangements to search the landfill site where the above discussed BIFFA truck went and in the area where is phone last pinged.
On the 1st of March 2017, police arrested a man on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in connection with this case. He has now been bailed but interestingly he is believed to work for BIFFA, but is not the man who was driving the truck.