DETECTIVES hunting for missing Isle of Wight teenager Damien Nettles have today (Friday) pledged to keep the case open.
Damien has been missing since 1996, when he was aged 16.
Damien’s case will remain with the Hampshire Major Investigation Team (HMIT) for ongoing, regular checks, a spokesman said.
Valerie Nettles, Damien’s mother, said they welcomed the recent efforts in the case, but the family remained concerned some information remained unresolved.
Several people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in his Damien's murder, however they have all subsequently been released without charge.
Chief Superintendent Dave Powell of Hampshire Constabulary said: "The decision does not mean the case is closed. Instead, the police files on Damien’s disappearance remain open for colleagues in the HMIT to examine regularly.
"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 a breakthrough in solving Damien’s disappearance.
"We are disappointed that Damien has not been found yet. However, our files 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."
Experienced detectives can conduct routine checks including:
• Analysing the credibility of any new information that may be given to police in future
• Contacting coroners' officers about the discovery of any unidentified bodies similar to Damien’s description
• Working with the Nettles family on any opportunities to maintain public awareness of the case.
Damien’s mum Valerie, said the Nettles family had been assured by police that his case was not closed and never would be closed.
She said: "We are very concerned about the initial handling of the case and have to wonder if this case had been taken seriously in the very beginning, would we have had some resolution now?
"This is still a missing persons case and as such we will continue to search for Damien until we find a result."
Anyone with information can contact HMIT at Fratton Police Station by calling 101 or emailing email@example.com Mini com users can call 18001 101 and information can also be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.