Today marks the 18th anniversary of the disappearance of Isle of Wight teenager Damien Nettles.
Damien went missing after a night out in Cowes on 2nd November 1996. The police case into his disappearance remains open 18 years later, but his body has never been found and despite several arrests, no-one has been charged for what is suspected to be his murder.
In early 2012 a petition was launched urging police to explore possible burial sites in Parkhurst Forest.
Police refused to search the location, because, his mother Valerie says,
“They say it’s due to an unreliable witness, yet they used to pay her quite happily as an informant for years.”
Dig for Damien
Friends of the family now take on digging for Damien.
For sometime they’ve been carefully digging in a secret location, but sadly to date, have not discovered any remains.
In a blog posted just three days before the anniversary, Damien’s mother, Valerie, says,
“It has been said that Damien was beaten to death by drug induced thugs who took exception to his presence. Some have suggested he was cut up and fed to pigs. Others have suggested he was thrown into a lobster cage and left as bait.
“Others say it was an accident. A beating got out of hand and he was killed. His body was hidden until a grave was prepared. Those involved are still around I am told.”
Rewards have led nowhere
In 2012, the police have offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to Damien’s body.
When this failed to attract any positive leads, a local businessman offered £10,000 reward for reliable information.
“An awesome and good human being”
Damien’s sister, Sarah, posted this heartfelt letter to him on Facebook earlier today,
Dear Damien Nettles,
18 years ago, sometime in the early hours of November 2, 1996, you became a statistic. But you are only a statistic to those that did not know you. To those that knew you, you were an awesome and good human being who had a life, and who was real. You were a real boy, with flesh and blood and a soul.
That night, the world became a less silly place, because another human being or beings took you from us. Those other human beings are still out there, so are their accomplices (those who keep secrets).
It may be 18 years, but we continue to search for you. The Hampshire Constabulary have completely given up on you, regardless of what they say in press releases. They have given up on you, a real human being who deserves more than they will ever give you.
Your family on the other hand, will NEVER give up! You deserve to be found, and we will die trying to find you.
Love, Your Loving Big Sister xxxx
In our hearts and minds
18 years later, Damien Nettles remains in the hearts and minds of thousands of Islanders, more than he ever knew during his lifetime.
Our thoughts go out to Valerie and Sarah and all of Damien’s family and friends.
How to contact police if you have facts
Anyone with information can contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Mini-com users can phone 18001 101. Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.