The family of missing airman Corrie McKeague face a further agonising wait while police examine material found in an incinerator.
Police searching for the 23-year-old gunner – who disappeared last September after a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk – have sifted through more than 6500 tonnes of waste at a landfill site near Cambridge in the belief that Corrie was taken there after falling asleep in a waste bin.
So far more than £1.2 million has been spent on the search to no avail, but plans to begin refilling the landfill site were halted after pleas from Corrie’s distraught family.
However, police said this week that a search of the Great Blakenham energy-from-waste facility near Ipswich had turned up material that required further examination in order to establish whether it is in any way connected to Corrie.
Said a spokesman for Suffolk Police: “At this stage it cannot be confirmed whether or not this material is in any way linked to Corrie and so it will be subject to specialist examination and forensic analysis in the coming weeks.
“Police expected that it would be necessary to take items recovered from the search away from the site in order to examine them more carefully. Corrie’s family have been kept updated about the search.
“The search of the incinerated waste is now complete.”
Corrie’s dad Martin, who lives in Cupar, has been keeping a vigil in Cambridge with his wife Trisha.
Writing on his Facebook page this week, he said: “We’ve been kept up to date by the Suffolk police at every stage, including the recent search of the incinerator.
“The McKeague family in Scotland fully supports the Suffolk and Norfolk police forces and the way in which they continue to conduct the investigation into my son’s disappearance.
“We remain focused on the facts, and those facts suggest we are looking in the right places. The police will let us know in due course about their findings from the incinerator facility, and we await the results of the review of the landfill site search.”
Corrie, who grew up in Cupar and attended St Columba’s Primary School, was last seen in the early hours of September 24 following a night out with friends from RAF Honington, where he was serving.
It is believed he fell asleep in a rubbish container which later emptied its load at the landfill site.