The heartbroken mum of missing teenager Leah Croucher has poured her heart out in an emotional letter appealing for information on her 21st birthday.

Leah was 19 when she "effectively vanished into thin air" while on her way to work in Milton Keynes on February 15 at around 8.15am last year.

Detectives have been left baffled by her sudden disappearance.

Leah's parents Claire and John Croucher were dealt a devastating cruel double blow when her 24-year-old brother Haydon took his own life almost nine months after her disappearance.

His family said he was unable to cope with his sister going missing.

Addressing a potential abductor of Leah, Claire said they had "destroyed" her family but insisted they would be caught.

Leah was last seen on February 15 last year

Today is Leah's milestone birthday and Claire has spoken about about the crippling pain the family have endured and appealed to the "conscience" of anyone who knows what happened to her daughter to come forward.

She said: “August 14 is Leah’s 21 st birthday. It should be a time of anticipation that our daughter is coming of age.

"We should be out buying a matching champagne glass to her 18 th or a plastic key to proclaim that she is 21 and a ‘proper’ adult now.

"We should be buying her an expensive piece of jewellery for her to pass onto her first born.

Leah's parents Claire and John Croucher

"Maybe I would present her with the diamond ring my mother inherited from my grandmother. The only true family heirloom I possess.

“We should be planning a surprise birthday party as we did for Haydon’s 21 st birthday.

"Hiding phone calls, text messages and emails, planning what food to have, agonising over the cake design.

"We should be wishing COVID-19 was closer to being resolved as it is interfering with the holiday we wanted to take Leah on, a two week trip to Costa Rica.

Police are offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to Leah's whereabouts

"We should be looking at photos of the holiday we never had last March to Cape Verde.

“Instead we are waiting for August 15. The 18-month anniversary of Leah vanishing from the face of the earth. We are missing Leah so much it is crippling.

"We miss Haydon just as much. Regretful that neither will be here the day before Leah’s birthday. Or that day. Or the day after.

“The past 18 months have been a living hell, a waking nightmare that does not stop. It is sometimes difficult to work out if we are asleep or awake as the two merge and at times one is just as bad, if not worse as the other.

Leah with her brother Haydon

"The hardest to cope with are the dreams where I am hugging you Leah, because I’ve found you, or you have come home, or the police have found you, a member of the public found you…..so many differing scenarios, all untrue and seemingly impossible.

“The joy I feel at you finally being safe is exhilarating. Then the alarm goes and drags me back to our painful reality of the unknown, having to face the world and pretend that we have found a way of coping with this intolerable, unbearable situation.

"It is impossible to forget you, to push you to the back of our minds.

“People talk to me and I don’t hear them, they joke ‘you were in a world of your own there’ I smile. I wasn’t in a world of my own.

Leah Croucher with older sister Jade

"I was in a hell of my own. Wondering how long you suffered for. How long you waited for us to come and save you. Wondering if you had any regrets as the end came.

"Wondering if these thoughts are wrong because everyone says we should think positive. Think that you ran away because you hated us.

“Your dad and I have walked the streets looking for you in the middle of the night. Visited cities and their homeless hostels, talked to the homeless on the streets, asking them to look out for you. It was a scary experience each time.

"I know there is no way my little, naïve, shy daughter would live in that environment. Friends and strangers have put up your posters across the country and abroad.

Leah turns 21 today (August 14)

"One friend told me this week that the poster he placed in Cornwall last year when on holiday is still there when he went back last week. Faded, but still there. People still display your poster in their cars, on their vans, in shops and house windows.

"You are still across the city, the country, the world. People recognise me and your dad, even with facemasks and sunglasses on. How does no one recognise you?

"How can they not find you?

“We can’t believe that you ran away, as much as we desperately want to. Young ladies aged 19 with thousands in the bank do not run away with barely £5 in their purse, no clean clothes, not confiding in any friends, at 8.10am on a cold winter’s morning.

Jade, Haydon, John and Leah Croucher

"It was -4 degrees that day. If you were going to break contact with every person on the planet you knew, why did you send your daily streaks on Snapchat at 8.13?

"Why head in the direction of work? The opposite direction to any transport links out of the area. Why not call in sick to work so that you had an alibi for another eight hours that day?

"Because you were following your usual, daily routine and someone intercepted you and took you away. You had no plans to run away.

“The police describe your case as a highly unusual one for these reasons and more.

CCTV sighting of Leah before she disappeared

“Your dad has been furloughed due to COVID-19. The hours are long for him, the days even longer. Your sister can sometimes not even manage a whole week at work.

"I keep plodding, feeling it is harder each day to get through, we all keep trying to continue to hope you will come home.

"It is almost impossible now. Each time we say it, it sounds less and less plausible. The leads to the police are fewer each month. Friends have run out of consoling platitudes to say to us.

"I haven’t been able to cook spicy chilli beef since February 13, 2019. It was the last meal I made for you. I vowed at the beginning of this ordeal that I would not make it again until you came home.

John and Claire Croucher at a press conference

“I fear I will never cook it again. We fear we will never see you again. Never hear your infectious laugh again. Never meet your beautiful children, our grandchildren.

"Jade will never have nieces or nephews from you or Haydon. Fear we will never hold you again, never smell you again. We love you so much, always have and always will. We all need you to come home today.

"Please, we hope that miracles happen, and you are reading this. Come home, call us and we will pick you up, wherever you are. Your dad has the same number. You know it off by heart. Call us to come and get you.

“Your disappearance has caused so much pain to us, your grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, and friends. If somebody has taken you then we ask WHY? Because they did not see you as a person. A daughter, sister, cousin, niece, granddaughter.

A grey hoody identical to one that Leah was wearing when she disappeared

“We have said it before and we will continue to say that we strongly believe that somebody out there knows more about your disappearance than they have told the police.

"Somebody must know something so why do they keep silent? Somebody must have seen you that morning after Buzzacott Lane. We again ask anybody out there that knows anything relating to your disappearance to come forward and speak to the police.

“We appeal to their conscience to do the decent and honourable thing and help to end this constant pain that we have endured for the last 18 months and will continue to suffer daily until you, our daughter Leah, is found.”

Addressing a potential culprit directly, she added: "But if the worst has happened and you cannot come home, this is my message to the person responsible: It may take time, but you will be caught.

"You have destroyed my happy family. We will never heal from the needless and heinous pain you have caused.

"You have taken a kind, naive young lady who had everything to look forward to and stopped her life in her prime.

"You have robbed her family and friends of a caring, loving individual. You broke her brother, Haydon, mentally.

"You have taken away grandchildren that we will never meet. Stopped two wedding days that we will never get the chance to plan.

"To lose one child is the most horrendous experience in life, one you would not wish on your worst enemy.

"To not know why that child is no longer with you, or even if they are OK is torturous.

"To lose two children is soul-destroying.

"I do not know how I get up every day. It takes a lot of willpower. It takes a lot of energy. Energy I usually do not possess.

"I still feel numb. I still feel lost. Helpless. Useless. Close to tears all day. Angry."

Detectives are offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to Leah's whereabouts.

Anyone with any information should contact Thames Valley Police, quoting investigation number 43190049929.