The mother of missing airman Corrie McKeague says the police have ‘utterly destroyed’ her confidence that they will find her son.
Nicola Urquhart, who is a serving police officer herself, described the investigation as an ‘utter betrayal of trust’ 10 weeks after the 23-year-old RAF gunner was last seen following a night out in Bury St Edmunds.
Although she did not elaborate as to why she now feels this way about Suffolk Police, she told the BBC: “I have spoken to them. I have given my absolute everything to try and support the police and back them up even when I was concerned but they have now in their actions utterly destroyed this.
“This is way more than just resources. This is an utter betrayal of trust.”
Corrie, who was based at RAF Honington, had been out with friends in Bury on the evening of Friday, September 23 but was separated early the following morning while leaving the Flex nightclub, in St Andrew’s Street South.
He was last seen on CCTV in Brentgovel Street at 3.25am.
Yesterday, Corrie’s grandparents Mary and Oliver McKeague announced a five-figure reward for information leading to the discovery and return of their grandson.
Assistant Chief Constable Louisa Pepper said she was ‘absolutely confident’ her officers will do ‘everything they can to find Corrie’.
She said: “They are highly skilled, highly professional and they’re determined to find him and understand the circumstances of his disappearance.
“We are using the similar sort of resources we would put into a murder investigation, we’re putting in search officers, we’re utilising members of the RAF, we’ve got enquiry teams looking at it so we are putting an inordinate amount of resources into finding him.”
Asked how she felt about Mrs Urquhart’s comments, the assistant chief constable said: “Genuinely disappointed. We’ve worked tirelessly with the family to update them and make sure they’re fully part of our investigation which is key to finding Corrie so I don’t know why Nicola has said that but it’s a bit of a surprise to be fair.
“We will continue to put everything into finding him because it’s a total mystery for us at the moment and as a mother myself whose got teenage children I can really understand that she wants her son home.”
A police spokeswoman added: “We continue to investigate Corrie’s disappearance and our focus remains on finding him and discovering what happened.
“Since he was reported as missing police, supported by a variety of partner agencies, including the RAF and Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue, have been carrying out extensive enquiries to try and find him.
“A large area in Bury St Edmunds and surrounding areas has been searched, hundreds of hours of CCTV footage has been viewed, reviewed and analysed.
“A considerable amount of work has been carried out behind the scenes and this is a complex and comprehensive investigation, with police officers carefully and closely examining all possibilities.
“All the work completed by Suffolk Police has been reviewed by other constabularies to ensure everything possible is being done.
“This work continues – and will continue.”
She thanked all those who have assisted with the investigation to date and urged anyone with information that may help to call the incident room on 01473 782019 or Crimestoppers, anonymously if required, on 0800 555 111.