This article includes discussion of sexual abuse that some readers may find distressing.

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After months of mystery, we're finally set to find out what really happened to Coronation Street's Lauren Bolton (Cait Fitton) – and the ITV soap has certainly kept us guessing with this whodunnit!

Kindly cobbles stalwart Roy Cropper (David Neilson) was arrested, charged and jailed for Lauren's murder, but it's been made clear to viewers that he's innocent. Unfortunately, DS Lisa Swain (Vicky Myers), doesn't believe this, although she has been open to other lines of enquiry.

Lauren wasn't just working for Roy; she was also being tutored by Daniel Osbourne (Rob Mallard). In recent weeks, known child sex abuser Nathan Curtis (Chris Harper) has returned, leaving victim Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) convinced that he may have groomed Lauren before she disappeared.

There's also still much we may not know about solicitor Joel Deering (Calum Lill), meaning he could also be connected to Lauren. Is Lauren actually dead, and if so, who did the deed?

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Ahead of the big reveal, RadioTimes.com has rounded up the suspects and all the possibilities, so let's dive in...

Who killed Lauren Bolton in Coronation Street?

Nathan Curtis

Nathan rages at Sarah in Coronation Street
Nathan hasn't changed a bit. ITV

We now know that Nathan has been out of prison long enough to have crossed paths with Lauren before her disappearance.

Next week, we hear that his alibi for the day she went missing has fallen through, and Nathan is questioned over Lauren's murder, as well as being arrested for breaching his sexual harm prevention order.

Bethany is convinced that Nathan is guilty of grooming, abusing and ultimately harming Lauren, and he's evil enough to believably be the culprit. But would Nathan be too obvious as the murderer in this particular story?

Daniel Osbourne

DS Swain sits in an interview room opposite Daniel in Coronation Street
Did Daniel commit murder? ITV

Daniel has, like Roy, had the finger pointed at him for Lauren's death, and has maintained his own innocence again and again. As a Barlow, Daniel is automatically considered one of the good guys, but he does have a temper on him!

Daniel tutored Lauren, and was also very generous with money to help her out. Either he simply wanted to help, just like Roy, or he has a secret, even darker side than what we've already seen so far.

Daniel is certainly a more plausible possibility than Roy, and there's enough shock value here to make a great Corrie twist.

Joel Deering

Joel and Dee-Dee on Coronation Street. He is looking at Dee-Dee as she looks straight on
Joel may not be as trustworthy as he looks. ITV

We still don't know much about Joel, other than he's a solicitor who cheated on his estranged wife, and they have a young daughter. Joel is dating Roy's solicitor, Dee-Dee Bailey (Channique Sterling-Brown), and next week sees him agree to represent Nathan!

But Joel also represented Lauren last year, when she was arrested for criminal damage. She later revealed she had an older boyfriend who bought her expensive jewellery, and may have left her with worrying bruises. We've yet to find out who that was. Could Joel have been Lauren's boyfriend all this time?

We can't shake the feeling that Joel is not to be trusted, and it goes far beyond his lies about his marriage. Is his role as legal aid in the week's tense episodes simply a red herring, paving the way for the reveal that Joel harmed Lauren?

Roy Cropper

David Neilson as Roy Cropper in Coronation Street
David Neilson as Roy Cropper in Coronation Street. ITV

We can't completely rule out Coronation Street blindsiding us with this one, although we certainly hope it isn't true! Roy is seen as an odd-ball by Swain, but most of the locals know that he would never hurt anyone, and simply looked out for Lauren as he has done for countless young women over the years, with no strings attached.

But back when this storyline first began, there was a strange, intriguing scene which saw Roy cleaning Lauren's abandoned flat. When he spotted blood stains, he merely continued scrubbing the carpet!

So, why didn't the blood strike Roy as worrying, and does this mean anything in terms of his link to Lauren's fate?

It's strange, yes, but we still can't see gentle Roy being exposed as a murderer. However, this is soap and more outrageous things have been known to happen!

Far-right gang

Michael Condron as Griff, with two inmates stood in the background in Coronation Street
Griff terrorises Roy in prison ITV

Group leader Griff Reynolds (Michael Condron) is back in Weatherfield prison, and he's about to threaten Roy's life to extract a confession for Lauren's murder. But could Griff actually have ordered her death after she broke away from the evil gang?

This might be a stretch, given there's no other obvious reason for Griff to target Roy. But what if it's not Griff, but another, free member of the gang who killed Lauren?

She had turned her life around since escaping Griff and her father Reece Bolton (Scott Anson), but did they resent her for it, and want revenge?

Is Lauren really dead?

Lauren looks upset as Bobby walks beside her in Coronation Street
Where is Lauren? ITV

Coronation Street spoilers have confirmed, in the words of ITV, that 'We discover who really killed Lauren' next week.

Clearly, something sinister has happened to her, but we're still not convinced of Lauren's demise. For starters, there's still no sign of a body, and yet Swain had Roy locked up for the crime!

So, is Lauren really dead, or is the real twist that she's in hiding somewhere, or being held hostage by an evil force?

We're calling it: there's a much more complex story at play here than a murder investigation. And what a shame it would be if actress Fitton's time on the soap was really cut short so soon. Watch this space!

For support and guidance on matters raised within this story, visit Barnardo's, NSPCC and SHE UK for help and advice.

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