DETECTIVES continuing the hunt for a teenager who vanished almost 16 years ago have today offered a £20,000 reward for information that could finally locate him.

It was on November 2, 1996, when Damien Nettles failed to return to his Isle of Wight home following a night out in Cowes.

Despite relentless inquiries, statements from more than 350 witnesses and new information that led to the arrest of eight people on suspicion of his murder, police have still been unable to determine exactly what happened to the 16-year-old.

They say they cannot rule out the possibility he was killed.

The new offer of a reward is the latest move by detectives from Hampshire’s major investigation team in the hope of finally solving the mystery.

Senior investigating officer Superintendent Dave Powell said: “The police’s commitment to find out what happened to Damien is unwavering and undiminished.

“The biggest challenge we still face is separating fact from fiction because a vast amount of information about Damien’s disappearance has been received.”

Supt Powell said his team had spent the past three years analysing and acting upon information given to police from within the local community which led to the arrest of eight people who were later released without charge.


He added: “I share the Nettles family’s belief that the key to solving this case is to be found on the Isle of Wight, and that is where we are focusing the announcement of this police reward in the weeks leading up to the 16th anniversary of Damien’s disappearance.

“Police are grateful for the family’s considerable understanding and support throughout this investigation. Their drive and determination is an absolutely crucial element in maintaining awareness of this case and encouraging what we all hope can be a crucial piece of information that takes us to Damien.

“We recognise that some people may have been worried about sharing what they know. However, for anyone able to help – now is the time for you to examine your conscience and motives.”

Background to the 16-year-hunt for Damien

Anyone with information is
asked to contact the major
investigation team at Fratton on
101 or email