Missing airman Corrie McKeague’s uncle has explained how the family bringing in private experts is to help the police investigation, not start their own.
Speaking on a Facebook Live session on Saturday evening, Tony Ringe explained how Suffolk Police had finite resources and other cases, including murders, to investigate so they faced constraints.
He added: “We don’t have to sit and accept that. We thought ‘what can we do to plug that gap’.
“We might be able to bring capabilities that might not be available to them.”
A Just Giving appeal raised more than £52,000 and the family last week announced it had brought in McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) who have expertise in data collection, collation and analysis; imagery intelligence; human intelligence; signals intelligence; technical/communications intelligence and surveillance.
Mr Wringe said MIS would be able to bring together the massive amount of data available, ranging from Facebook messages, through CCTV to Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue’s search mapping.
He added: “This is not so we can run our own investigation. This is so we can support the police in their investigation.”
He said MIS will collate the information into a ‘geospatial map”. This arranges data in a way that recognises it has a geographic or spatial element to it and allows it to be collated to take location into account.
Mr Ringe also admitted that he does not share Corrie’s mum Nicola Urquhart’s belief that her son may still be found alive because he did not feel the available evidence pointed to that.
He said his primary suspicion was that Corrie left the Brentgovel Street ‘horeshoe’, where he was last seen on CCTV at about 3.25am on September 24, in a vehicle.
“It’s not through his choice,” he added. “He would have contacted someone by now, sought funds.”
He said it was vital that area was forensically examined to eliminate it for the investigation.
He also praised the RAF for the support it had given the family and the search and explained how Corrie’s colleagues were unable to express opinions about it online because any of them could become witnesses in a criminal case, their service conditions forbade discussion of operational matters and they had their own personal security to protect so it would be unwise to be identified as military on social media.
He also stressed that Corrie had never been absent without leave (AWOL) and had the RAF had immediately considered him missing, not AWOL, because his failure to arrive at work was so out of character.
Anyone with information should call the Suffolk Police incident room on 01473 782019 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.