Missing airman Corrie McKeague’s uncle has criticised police over delays in searching a landfill site for him.
Tony Wringe believes the tip should have been searched five months ago when the family requested it after the 23-year-old gunner went missing but specialist teams only started scouring the landfill site earlier this month.
The development came after detectives checking information from the bin lorry company learned its load weighed 100kg instead of the 11kg they were originally told.
Writing on Facebook, Mr Wringe said: “The most obvious deduction on the circumstantial evidence (the bin area, the bin lorry, the phone ping) we assumed he may have gone out [of Brentgovel Street] in the bin lorry.
“We begged the police to search the tip. They said no, and never. Nicola (Corrie’s mum) pleaded with them to at least secure the area. Again, no. They did not feel there was any future value in holding the site.
“Every minute they take to do this, there is a mother staring at her phone hoping for it to ring and praying that it won’t.
“This should have happened five months ago.”
The search at the site in Milton began on March 6 and could take 10 weeks.
Mr Wringe echoed the thoughts of a former Metropolitan Police detective chief inspector Steve Gaskin who said: “There has been a clear opportunity that’s been missed. You don’t even need to be a detective to understand that there has been mistakes here. Any reasonable person would have undertook an investigation of that site a lot earlier.”
However, a spokeswoman for Suffolk police responded, saying Mr Gaskin is not fully aware of the details of the case and ‘clearly speaks with the benefit of hindsight’.
She said: “The landfill site search was always one possibility police were looking at, after it was thought Corrie’s phone may have been in the bin lorry. However it was only one of the possibilities.”
“It is always disappointing when a former investigating officer fails to realise the complexities of a case. He, better than anyone, should know that police have to work with facts, not rumours and speculation.”
Corrie, 23, has been missing since September 24 after a night out in Bury St Edmunds.