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Update: Police appeal to fishermen after ‘human leg’ found in Rush Green lake; missing man’s family informed

11:47 02 April 2014

Neill Buchel has been missing since March 13

Neill Buchel has been missing since March 13

Archant

Murder detectives are appealing to anglers and fishermen for information after a suspected human leg was found in a lake in Rush Green last night.

Police were called to White Hart Lakes, off Chase Road, shortly after 6pm, after a member of the public reported “an item” floating in the water.

Officers, including those from the Marine Support Unit, attended and the object was recovered from the lake.

Initial indications are that the item is part of a human leg, police said, although it will now be subject to forensic analysis.

Detectives investigating the disappearance of 39-year-old Neill Buchel, from Dagenham, are aware of the find and have informed his family of this development.

While it is too early to confirm if the find is linked to his investigation, Det Ch Insp Chris Jones, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, has appealed to local anglers and fishermen for any information they might have about recent activity at the lakes.

He said: “I would like to ask anybody who has used the lakes over recent weeks whether they have noticed any unusual or suspicious activity.

“Have you seen anybody putting something into the water? Have you noticed anybody who you have not seen there before? Any information, no matter how trivial you may think it to be, could be crucial to establishing what happened and I would urge you to speak with my team.”

Neill Buchel went missing from Braintree Road, Dagenham, on Thursday, March 13 - around two miles from where the suspected leg was found - and was reported missing to police on Tuesday, March 18.

Further enquiries by police raised concerns around the circumstances of Mr Buchel’s disappearance. Mr Buchel has not been traced.

It is known Mr Buchel was involved in an altercation earlier on the day he disappeared, at around 3pm.

He was with a friend in Heath Park, Dagenham, when they became involved in a verbal altercation with another group men.

Police were called and a 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of public order offences. He was subsequently issued with a penalty notice for disorder.

Mr Buchel then returned with others to an address in Stansgate Road which he frequented.

Since then he has made no contact with his friends or family - including his estranged partner and two daughters - which is totally out of character. His estranged partner reported him missing.

DCI Jones added: “We are appealing for anyone who saw that earlier altercation or anyone who has information about may have happened to Mr Buchel to please come forward and assist with our enquiries.

“We have not found Mr Buchel but we believe he has come to significant harm. It is highly unlikely he would not have contacted his friends and family as he regularly did if he was still OK.”

Three, aged 35, 41 and 35, who were arrested on suspicion of murder, have been bailed to a date in late April.

Anyone who can help is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8345 3734 or if you wish to remain anonymous Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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