HUMAN remains thought to be those of missing Leah Croucher were discovered by cleaners at an empty house where a paedophile once lived, it is claimed.
Cops had knocked on the door of the empty property three years ago during their house-to-house probe after Leah vanished in 2019.
A rucksack and personal items belonging to the 19-year-old were also found after cops received a tip-off and began searching the property on Monday.
Leah – who vanished on her way to work in February 2019 – lived just 10 minutes away from the £500k property in Loxbeare Drive, Milton Keynes, Bucks, and walked past it every day.
It is 500 yards from where she was last seen.
A convicted paedophile, jailed in 2017 for sexual offences against two teenagers over a two-year period, used to live in the house.
He was not living there when Leah went missing and locals say the property has been empty since 2019.
The paedophile’s dad said the family moved out of the house years before Leah vanished, but they were aware of Leah disappearance.
His mother told The Times she had “not seen him for years”.
It is understood the property is owned by a Kuwaiti businesswoman who let it out but she has no connection to the current police inquiry.
Cleaners are understood to have been working upstairs when they spotted the hidden remains, sparking a police search of the house.
Jill Davey, who lives close to the house, said: “Leah used to walk past the house every day. I would see her walking to work.
“It just sickens me. The police were meant to have searched all the houses around here, but they obviously didn’t do their job properly.”
Leah was last seen on CCTV just after 8.15am on February 15, 2019, as she headed to her job at a finance company.
The taekwondo fan was described by loved ones as “very quiet” and “not really an outgoing type of person”, preferring to read fantasy fiction or watch DVDs in her room to nights out at the pub.
Nine months after Leah’s disappearance, her heartbroken brother Hayden Croucher, 24, was discovered by his mother and sister Jade hanged at his flat and later died in hospital.
In a statement on the anniversary of Leah’s disappearance last February, her parents posted on social media: “Each day is torture. Each day feels like an eternity of pain and despair.”
Det Chief Supt 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.
“Leah’s family have been kept updated and continue to be supported by officers.”
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “This is a complex and challenging scene. We will continue to be at the scene for a significant period of time.”