The grandparents of missing airman Corrie McKeague have announced a five figure reward for information leading to the discovery and return of their ‘beautiful’ grandson.
Mary and Oliver McKeague, from Cupar in Fife, believe the 23-year-old’s disappearance after a night out with friends in Bury St Edmunds in September may involve a third party who he may have gone with.
Mary, 69, said: “No matter what, we have to have him back. Somebody’s taken him, somebody knows something out there and if that amount helps, that five figure sum, to bring him back, so be it. Money means nothing. We just want Corrie back.
“We’ve pledged this reward in hope that it will motivate someone to come forward and help us find my beautiful grandson, who went missing the day of his stepmother’s birthday.
“We’re heartbroken, but we’re not giving up. Corrie would expect us to stay strong.
“I can’t describe how empty and helpless you feel when a family member goes missing. This is what has happened to us.”
We’re heartbroken, but we’re not giving up. Corrie would expect us to stay strong.Mary McKeague
They announced the reward at a press conference at Worlington Hall Country House Hotel today, where they were joined by their son Martin, Corrie’s father.
During the press conference, they made a connection with two suspected kidnapping attempts of military servicemen earlier this year.
Mary said: “Corrie’s base at RAF Honington is near two other military bases, RAF Marham to the north, and Aldershot Camp to the south. Each of these bases recently reported suspected kidnapping attempts of military personnel. You could draw a near line on a map to connect the three military bases to the south east of England.”
After the press conference, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said there are no known links to either the RAF Marham or Aldershot Camp incidents but they continue to investigate all possibilities.
Corrie went out with friends in Bury on the evening of Friday, September 23, but was separated early the following morning while leaving the Flex nightclub, in St Andrew’s Street South.
He was last seen in the town centre on CCTV at 3.25am wearing a light pink Ralph Lauren shirt, white jeans and brown suede timberland boots with light soles.
A qualified gunner and team medic, Corrie joined II Squadron RAF Regiment three years ago and lived on the RAF Honington base with his black pug puppy, Louell.
Corrie’s last sighting shows the young squaddie walking from a shop doorway and walking into a horseshoe-shaped area at 3.25am in Brentgovel Street and no sighting of him emerging.
Mary added: “The CCTV cameras show him walking in but not coming out. He seems to have just vanished. But people don’t just vanish; they are either taken away or leave.
“We think Corrie arranged to meet someone that night and then got into a car and disappeared but there is still so many unanswered questions, so many things that we don’t yet know.
“We know he didn’t just run away; he loved his fellow squaddies, his family and his career direction he had chosen in the RAF. Corrie was so proud the day he passed out and joined 2 Squadron RAF Regiment three years ago, and so were we - very proud of our grandson.”
After the press conference, Corrie’s dad Martin, who turns 48 on Friday and plans to hand out leaflets in Bury town centre on Friday evening, said: “Ten weeks down the line, I believe something sinister has happened to Corrie and somebody knows something so we’re hoping this reward will make somebody come forward and end this torment, torture, for everybody, because no one deserves to go through this.
“We just want Corrie back. We’re not looking at a good outcome, but we just want Corrie back one way or another.”
Martin, who described himself as ‘broken’ said: “The money doesn’t matter, I’d sell my house, my mum would sell her house to get him back.”
Oliver said: “My thoughts are terrible. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. Corrie had made arrangements to come up and see us at home and we also had plans for Christmas and the plan was to all stick together and we were going to do something, but I don’t think we’ll ever see Corrie again.
“If Corrie was able, Corrie would get in touch.
“We need answers.”
Mary added: “At the beginning you think of everything. Everything goes through your mind. You think the worst because you hear so much of it nowadays, people going missing, it seems to be quite common, thousands every year, and some are never found. We know that, but I’m just hoping, praying to God, that doesn’t happen with us.”
The McKeague family are asking for any information from anyone who may have been in the town that evening or who may know of Corrie’s whereabouts.
Police are still looking to identify 10 individuals seen on CCTV in Bury St Edmunds around the time of Corrie’s disappearance.
There are a number of ways to make contact if you think you may have seen Corrie or have information about his whereabouts, including the Suffolk Police incident room on 01473 782019 or if you are not happy to talk to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For anyone who would like to make a donation to support the efforts of the Suffolk Lowland Search & Rescue (SULSAR) team, you can do so at the crowdfunding site Just Giving at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/findcorrie