The move follows an extensive review of all information gathered by police during enquiries into Damien’s disappearance in November 1996.
Chief Superintendent Dave Powell of Hampshire Constabulary said:
“This decision does not mean the case is closed. Instead, the police files on Damien’s disappearance remain open for colleagues in the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) to examine regularly.
“Experienced detectives can conduct routine checks including analysing the credibility of any new information that may be given to police in future, contacting Coroner’s officers about the discoveries of any unidentified bodies similar to Damien’s description and working with the Nettles family on any opportunities to maintain public awareness of the case.
“Our utmost respect and gratitude goes to the Nettles family and all those members of the public who campaign with tremendous tenacity to bring about breakthrough in solving Damien’s disappearance.
“We are disappointed that Damien has not been found yet. However, our files will remain open to receive any new facts that members of the public may have about what happened to the teenager in November 1996.
“The key point to repeat and remember is the reporting of any new facts – not fictions fuelled by the repetition of rumour.”
Anyone with information can contact the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 or emailing [email protected] Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
Damien’s mother, Valerie, has vowed to continue the search for Damien.