Damien Nettles

Missing Since: 02/11/1996

Damien Nettles disappeared from the Isle of Wight, UK on November 2, 1996 when he was 16. The investigation into his disappearance has been ongoing ever since, with five men arrested in 2011, although no charges have been brought.

About Damien Nettles

“As a baby Damien was just scrumptious and loving.  An endearing child.  A character!  He loved his big sister Sarah and he followed her everywhere.  He would ask me for juice and I would say “just a minute”.  He held up his orange cup and started saying instead “juice a minute mama”.  He warmed our hearts. He was always a joker.  He wanted to make people laugh.  There wasn’t a malicious bone in his body.

He was a dedicated musician.  He loved to play the guitar and taught himself to play.  He joined a band and they jammed and he loved it.  He  wrote lyrics and spent time listening to all kinds of music from the classical to the Beatles to current music.  He was sensitive, caring and loving and thoughtful.  He would help the underdog.  Sometimes to his own disadvantage. 

He liked to help people and since he went missing many school friends remember kind deeds he did.  He helped Sarah study for her A-Level final and she went on to the university in Portsmouth.  He became serious with his desire to do well on his exams and go to university.  He talked about doing marine biology.  We saw a commitment in him to go forward in life and have a career and future.  We saw him develop into a promising unique individual. 

Damien disappeared from our lives on the 2nd November 1996 when he was just 16. A moment in time altered the fate of our loved one. We face a life forever changed. We may never know what led up to that moment.

That’s where the anguish lives.

We will never let  go of the light of the hope that someday we will get answers to sooth our tortured souls. We try to follow the light with positivity and hope that one day truth will shine on us.”

Val Nettles.


 There have been a number of reviews of investigations related to Damien’s disappearance. Hampshire Police have stated that they “continue to take action to keep the case open for any new leads. A decision was made in 2013 for the files on Damien Nettles to remain with the force’s Major Crime Team for ongoing regular checks. This move followed an extensive review of all information gathered by police during enquiries into Damien’s disappearance in November 1996.”

In 2016 BBC reporters Bronagh Munroe and Alys Harte investigated the disappearance and their findings on BBC Three Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared.

Val Nettles has recently published her own moving and compelling account, that tells the full, perplexing story of her son’s disappearance The Boy Who Disappeared.’

News & Updates

 Missing People Investigation Clinics (MPIC) are a free independent review and advocacy service for families of missing people where an investigation remains unsolved. We bring specialists from different disciplines together to review unsolved missing people cases to help ensure all that can reasonably be done, is being done at no cost to families or the police service.

On Wednesday 20th November 2019 at the University of South Wales Locate Centre for Missing People Investigation, a review of the Damien Nettles case started. The team will work directly with Damien’s family and will last for several months.

Valerie Nettles hopes the review will contribute to improving how long term missing people investigations are managed and makes a difference for families in the future.

On the 1st of July 2020 Damiens Mum and our founder Dave gave an interview on BBC Radio Solent explaining how Locate is helping in the search for Damien.

18/07/20 – CASE UPDATE

On Wednesday several bones were found in a garden of a property in Cowes, Isle of Wight. A senior Police Crime Scene Manager has viewed the images and has concluded that they are non-human.

Whenever there is a discovery like this, especially in an area where there is an open missing person case, it is easy for people to start to speculate and comment without having the full facts.

Hampshire Police Service and the Team from Locate are in contact with Damien’s mother around the discovery. She is grateful for the support shown by the local community. 

This does show Damien’s Case is still in the minds of many people, including the Police, and many Islanders.

As a team, we will continue to support the family and the investigation in every way that we possibly can. If you have any information that you think can assist in the enquiry, then please let us know on our email info@locate.international.