The father of airman Corrie McKeague has said that his son is “no longer missing”, claiming his remains are irretrievable and somewhere in the Suffolk waste disposal system.
Writing on Facebook, Martin McKeague said: “Corrie is no longer missing.
“What we mean by this is that after looking at all of the facts and evidence we now know what happened to our son.
“We are certain he is somewhere in the Suffolk waste disposal system, but his remains are essentially irretrievable.”
Corrie McKeague was 23 years old when he vanished during a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on September 24 2016.
Police believe he climbed into a waste bin and was taken away by a refuse lorry.
He had been stationed at RAF Honington, around 10 miles from Bury St Edmunds.
No trace of him has been found, and police said in March that the investigation was being handed to a cold case squad.
But Corrie’s mother, Nicola Urquhart, has disagreed with her former husband and disputes his statement. Writing on another Facebook page, she insisted she and Corrie’s siblings, Makeyan and Darroch, had not given up the search.
She wrote: “People deal with grief in different ways. I feel that if its right for the person going through their grief and they aren’t hurting others in the process then they have found what works for them.
“I can only keep fighting for the answers i need. To do what helps get me, my son’s and our family through this.
“Corrie is missing, he has not been found, nor has their been any corroborated evidence shown to me yet to say what has happened to my son.”
Nicola was writing on the main Facebook page set up to help find Corrie but numerous others have sprung up that discuss theories - some helpful, some less so.
But Martin McKeague said he felt convinced by the evidence presented to him, following a police visit in October last year, and more recently, in February.
The evidence was “as thorough as it was compelling”, he said, and that experts “concluded beyond any doubt that Corrie had ended up in the Suffolk waste disposal system”.
“Accepting that conclusion has clearly not been easy for the McKeague family in Scotland, nor anyone else,” he wrote.
He said the remaining areas were either “too toxic to search” or “so vast it could take years to do so”.
He added that his son’s disappearance had been an “unbelievable and horrific journey of grieve (sic) and acceptance for the McKeague family”.
He said there are plans for a memorial for Corrie in the future.