Leah Croucher's parents have broken their silence after police confirmed the remains found in a loft are those of their missing teen daughter.
Officers investigating the murder of the 19-year-old in Milton Keynes confirmed the identification of the remains last week after the tragic finding just days before.
Now Claire and John Croucher have paid tribute to their daughter as they spoke publicly for the first time since her body was found.
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The grief-stricken parents said the "faint glimmer of hope" they'd held that the 19-year-old was still alive had been "brutally extinguished".
They described Leah as a "bright, funny young woman" whose "smile lit up the room" as they broke their silence following confirmation of her death.
They said looking at pictures of Leah was too painful at the moment.
And they asked her to give half-brother Haydon – who took his own life in November 2019 – a big kiss.
Leah's body was found in a loft at a four-bedroom house in Milton Keynes on October 10, less than half a mile from where she was last seen alive more than three years ago.
Neil Maxwell, a convicted sex offender, was named as prime suspect but was found dead two months after Leah's disappearance.
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The 49-year-old worked as a maintenance man for the homeowner of the property Leah was found at.
Mr and Mrs Croucher said they "knew" the news Leah had been taken from them would come.
They said: "Leah had so much to achieve in her life, milestones that will now never be met.
"The void left in our lives after Leah’s disappearance was immense, a pain almost too big to bear.
"However, there is little that compares to the deep chasm Leah’s death has brought to us. The world and our lives are darker for losing her in the prime of life."
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