THE mother of Damien Nettles has made a plea to police to extend the deadline for a reward offered for information about her son's disappearance and suspected murder.
Valerie Nettles, who now lives in Texas, has urged Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes to allow more time before the deadline to claim the £20,000 reward expires at the beginning of April.
She said: "I am due to hear from my senior investigating officer next week with his decision about renewing or not renewing this reward and it would be remiss of me, Damien's mother, not to take a stand and appeal for a little longer duration of this reward."
Damien disappeared after a night out in Cowes in November 1996 and the case has remained open since that date.
In 2011 there was a series of arrests, however police subsequently released all suspects without charge.
In October, last year, police offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to Damien's location, with a six month deadline. This month they said the appeal had so far failed to prompt any reliable new leads.
Mrs Nettles said: "Damien deserves 100 per cent police commitment to this reward and to the results that it could potentially accomplish.
"After many years of appealing for a reward and being denied our family is, of course, very grateful to the current investigative team for its support and for establishing this reward.
"Although it would have had its full potential 16 years ago, it is better late than never.
"When you take into consideration that Damien’s case has been the victim of some bad operational decisions in the past I feel strongly that we should give this case time to resolve all of those inconsistencies and address every lost opportunity.
"I would really like the police to consider renewing this reward for at least another year. At least as long as those who were arrested were kept on bail.
"Six months for 16 years of a less than satisfactory investigation, mostly in the early days, does not do Damien justice and could be construed as showing a lack of commitment in recovering Damien by the police and that police have already determined the outcome of this case."
Senior investigating officer Supt David Powell said in a statement issued earlier month: "We will review the situation at the end of the six-month reward period in April 2013 and take decisions then."