The hunt for missing RAF airman Corrie McKeague has so far cost more than £300,000 it has been revealed.
A huge missing person’s inquiry was launched after the 23-year-old gunner vanished on September 24 after a night out in Bury St Edmunds.
The figure was released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request and makes the investigation one of the most expensive ever carried out by Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies.
Corrie’s family have also raised more than £50,000 to bring in private specialists to help collate information for the search.
His mum Nicola Urquhart said at the weekend: “I’ve never criticised any of the work that the police have done, I’ve been delighted with the efforts they’ve made.
“With myself, it’s just looking for particular things that have been done in the enquiry that I’ve been asking for.
“There’s possibly been a misrepresentation by some of the press that has been taken out of context when I’ve said some things. They’ve clearly spent a massive amount. But equally, when things aren’t done I will be vocal about it and ask for it to be done.
“That’s genuinely why things have gone quiet - there is nothing that I’m not happy with. The police are doing everything that we are asking them to do.”
According to the FOI, the £300,000 bill, split between Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies, has been made up of staffing, overtime, travel and forensics.
A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said on Saturday: “As long as we still have lines of enquiry to follow, as we do now, this will remain an active and continuing investigation.
“Police still have work to carry out around a number of aspects of the investigation and we continue to treat finding Corrie as a priority for the constabulary.”
Anyone with information over Corrie’s disappearance should call Suffolk police’s incident room on 01473 782019.
In his latest update on the Find Corrie Facebook Group, Corrie’s uncle Tony Wringe stresses that the family has not hired ‘private investigators’ but an ‘intelligence services organisation’ to collate the massive amount of data available in a way not previously available to the police. He says the investigative work is still carried out by the police.
He writes: “I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of Nicola, myself and the rest of the family to reaffirm our thanks to Forbes and his team at [McKenzie Intelligence Services] who have brought a unique level of capability to our search, in respect to all-source collection and collation methods and analytics.
“Their global reputation for data and imagery analytics, including proof of life investigative experience, is well deserved. As former colleagues of mine, they are treating this search very personally and have undertaken this work at a fraction of their standard fees, for which we are incredibly grateful.”
He explains how MIS collate the data into a multi-layered digital map and adds: “This map shows us what we know. It also indicates what we don’t. From that we build a collection plan to use whatever other ‘collection’ capabilities we have at our disposal.
“As a result of the work the team have been doing, we have already been able to challenge some of the previously held assumptions of what could or could not have happened. We now have new areas where we realise we do or do not know something relevant.”
One example he gives is that it is now known Corrie did not use his phone in the doorway of Hughes so is unlikely to have set an alarm to wake him , which cats doubt on him having arranged a meeting at a specific time.