On September 23, 2016, a night out drinking with friends in Bury St. Edmunds, Corrie McKeague drove his car into town with intentions of leaving the car there overnight. On September 24, McKeague was asked to leave the Flex nightclub on St. Andrews St. by the doorman for being too drunk. This separated him from his friends. The doorman reported that he had chatted with McKeague afterward on the street and that McKeague was “no trouble”.
Between the hours of 1:15 am and 1:30 am he was in the Mama Mia’s takeaway restaurant. At 3:25 am McKeague was on Brentgovel Street, seen by cameras walking into the “Horseshoe area” where there were a number of wheelie bins. There was no footage of McKeague ever leaving that area. There was footage that suggested McKeague had slept in a doorway briefly before moving on.
McKeague’s mother stated on October 3, 2016 that her son had never walked back to Honington, where the RAF Regiment he had joined in 2013 was posted. He was a Senior Aircraftman gunner and medic on the squadron. His mother stated that all the things McKeague had done, leaving on his own, getting food and sleeping for a short while, were all things that he had done in the past. It is not believed that he walked back to the base which was 10 miles north along minor unclassified roads.
McKeague had the weekend off and was not reported missing until September 26, which was the following Monday, when he didn’t report for work. On the morning of McKeague’s disappearance, his mobile phone had moved from Bury St Edmunds to Barton Mills, which was 12 miles to the north west. The phone data indicated this journey took 28 minutes, meaning it could not have traveled that far on foot. The phone was either switched off at 8 am, ran out of battery, or was damaged and was not found.
Investigators searched several areas close to RAF Honington, which would have been McKeague’s supposed route back to base. Investigators had wondered if someone had given McKeague a ride as he was walking back to base. His mother had stated that he would have accepted the lift, as he would offer it had he been driving and saw someone walking on their own. His mother appealed to anyone who might have given him a lift to come forward, even if something had happened along the way.
In October, a bin lorry was seized. It was said it contained the mobile phone but inquiries led to nothing. The interesting part in this case was that it was noted that the bin lorry weighed only 33 lbs. and McKeague could not have been in the bin lorry as he weighed 200 lbs.
In December of 2016, McKeague’s mother went on record stating that authorities were not handling the invesigation properly. An appeal fund raised money in Corrie McKeague name and by the end of December 2016 his mother was considering hiring a private investigator to pursue other avenues because she believed the police had failed to follow some of them.
In January of 2017, the back of a cell phone was found close to where the last signal from McKeague’s phone had been detected. The part contained no essential components that would make it possible to link the phone with the disappearance so no further analysis would be conducted. Police did however, state that they were examining McKeague’s activities on swinger sites. His family had provided the police with his username for at least one of the sites.
In February of 2017, the police would start looking at the landfills, with the theory that McKeague had slept in a bin lorry in the Horseshoe area and had been crushed to death when the bin lorry collected the contents of the night and had been transported to the landfill site. The family did not believe this theory. After coming up empty the police announced they would be concentrating their efforts on the incinerated wastes.
On September 21, 2017, images of four people caught on camera who could have been witnesses to the disappearance were released. On March 26, 2018 the police announced that the search for Corrie McKeague would wind down as there stood to be “no realistic lines of inquiry left”. McKeague’s mother had brought about unique pressures to the force when she suggested, on a talk show, that what was cited about the weight carried in the bin lorry was inconsistent or someone manipulated the data, and the other possibility was that someone was lying to the police.
In January of 2017, April Oliver, age 21, had announced she was pregnant with McKeague’s baby. She nor McKeague had been aware of the pregnancy at the time of his disappearance. McKeague’s father released a statement to a local tabloid that his son had committed suicide because of the pressures of fatherhood, but the rest of the family refuted this as the first text notifying McKeagan of the pregnancy wasn’t until after the disappearance. His father later released a statement that his son’s remains were in the Suffolk waste disposal system somewhere but that they are essentially irretrievable. He acknowledged his son was prone to to sleeping in and on top of bins and that his body was in the bin that had been taken to the landfill on the morning of September 24, 2016.
His mother stated that she would continue to look for answers, that the coroner had not released a death certificate, as he was still presumed missing rather than dead.
In November 2020 it was announced that a full inquest would be conducted into Corrie McKeague’s death. The inquest began on March 7, 2022 and ended on March 22, 2022. It was concluded that Corrie McKeagan had indeed died after climbing into a commercial waste bin, that was then tipped into a waste lorry. Jurors said he died about 4:20 BST, in Bury St Edmunds, as a result of “compression asphyxia in association with multiple injuries.
Corrie McKeagan’s death was contributed to by impaired judgement due to alcohol consumption.