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MOTHER BACK TO HUNT FOR MISSING SON

Friday, November 26, 2004 - 9:49

By Suzanne Pert
THE MOTHER of missing Islander Damien Nettles has accused the police of paying lip service to the investigation into her son's disappearance eight years ago.
Valerie Nettles, who returned to Cowes this week for the first time since the family moved to America more than three years ago, said she was less than satisfied with the way things had been going.
"I have not been getting the feedback that I deserve and my e-mails go unanswered," said Mrs Nettles, whose son Damien, who was 16 at the time, disappeared apparently without trace after a night out in Cowes and East Cowes on November 2, 1996, never arriving back at the then family home in Gurnard.
She also complained about the length of time it took police to eliminate Damien from the identification of bones found in Warsash, leaving her worrying for months.
But following Mrs Nettles' criticism, Det Ch Insp Dave Williams, who is in charge of the investigation, said he was sad that Mrs Nettles felt the level of response afforded to her by the investigation was not what it should be.
"The team investigate all homocides in the two counties and the balance has to be struck between the resources available and the priorities of all the investigations and that is not to say the disappearance of Damien Nettles is not a priority," said Det Ch Insp Williams, who works from Fareham.
"While I feel deeply sad that this disappearance is still unexplained and I appreciate, as a father with children of a similar age, what Valerie must be going through, I can only stress that we remain determined in our resolve to investigate all credible lines of inquiry."
He said Mrs Nettles had been told early on that the bones found belonged to a 14 to 16-year-old boy of up to 5ft 8in in height and Damien was 6ft 3in.
"I have been in e-mail contact with Mrs Nettles throughout and have spoken to other family members as well and she has been updated on the investigation. I am not saying I have answered each and every single query but we are following a number of lines of inquiry.
"One of those was that Damien, who was probably under the influence of alcohol and drugs on the night in question, slipped into the sea; that he may have been attacked during the course of the evening, although there was no credible evidence to substantiate that; and that he disappeared of his own volition or was abducted and somehow has been unable to contact us over the years, which is pretty unlikely."
Mrs Nettles said: "I have come back to see my mother, my family and at the same time to be here, where Damien was. I don't have a graveside or any other marker. Always half of me is split because I have left something behind in Cowes," said Mrs Nettles, who was meeting with Det Ch Insp Williams to get an update.

 


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