A quarter of a century on from his disappearance and the family of Damien Nettles – and the wider public – are still wondering what happened to the 16-year-old who went missing on this day in 1996.
It’s a story that every Islander knows well; it’s been subject to documentaries and books, as well as numerous high-profile appeals for information. But 25 years on from Damien’s disappearance and there are so many questions that remain unanswered.
Damien, who would now be 41, disappeared from Cowes here on the Isle of Wight on 2nd November 1996 when he was just 16-years-old. The last sighting of Damien on CCTV was at Yorkie’s Fish and Chip Shop in Cowes High Street at 23:35. It’s known that CCTV also picked him up elsewhere in the High Street some 25 minutes later but this footage was lost by the Police at the time.
The teen never made it home to Woodvale Road and all these years later it’s still unknown what happened to Damien that mysterious night. The investigation into his disappearance has been ongoing ever since, with 5 men arrested in 2011, although no charges have ever been brought.
10-years-ago searches were carried out at both Stag Lane near Newport and at Marsh Road in Gurnard, but both searches were called off when nothing untoward was found. The case has since been labelled ‘cold’ by the authorities.
A total of 1,134 people have been involved in the investigation (either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest) since Damien Nettles disappeared. Murder or foul play have not been ruled out.
Anyone with any information about Damien’s disappearance is urged to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Information can also be passed directly to Hampshire Constabulary by calling 101 and quoting Operation Ridgewood.
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