Damien, from Gurnard, was last seen during a Saturday night out on 2nd November 1996. He was captured on CCTV at Yorkie’s Fish and Chip Shop at 23:35 and seen in Cowes High Street 25 minutes later, but the footage showing him eating his chips was lost by Police.
Although no new lines of enquiry have been identified by Hampshire Constabulary over the past year, the Hampshire Major Investigation Team continue to make regular checks. The case remains open.
Officers regularly contact Coroner’s officers about the discoveries of any unidentified bodies similar to Damien’s description and analyst the credibility of any new information reported to Police.
In May 2011 a search was undertaken of marshland alongside the Newport-Cowes cycle track, but the search failed to produce any new evidence. A further search was carried out in Gurnard in November 2011 when a man and woman were arrested on suspicion of murder. A total of 8 people were arrested in 2011, however all were later released without charge.
In total, 1,134 people have been involved in the investigation either as investigators, witnesses, or people of interest since Damien’s disappearance. Some 357 witness statements have been taken to date and 2,553 documents have been reviewed and processed.
Murder or foul play cannot be ruled out.
A £20,000 reward was offered between October 2012 and April 2013 for facts leading to the location of Damien Nettles. Police received 30 reports of information, however none of the information led to new lines of enquiry.
A spokesperson for the force has said:
“Hampshire Constabulary remains disappointed that Damien has not been found yet. Our files continue to be kept open to receive any new facts anyone may have about what happened to the teenager in November 1996.
“A key point to repeat and remember in this case 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].