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14 May 2011, 11:31
Detectives have expressed deep disappointment after an intensive search for a missing teenager possibly murdered nearly 15 years ago failed to find his body.
Damien Nettles, 16, was last seen on the Isle of Wight on November 2 1996 after a night out with friends.
Four men from the Isle of Wight, aged between 37 and 50, and a 39-year-old man from Gravesend, Kent, were freed on police bail in connection with his disappearance.
They were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of the murder of Damien, who was from Woodvale Road, Gurnard, on the island, and a search for his body began on Thursday.
But Detective Chief Inspector Dave Powell, of Hampshire Police, said an "exhaustive, detailed'' search at Dodnor Nature Reserve and the nearby areas ended at 3.15pm on Saturday May the 15th.
"We have not found Damien, and furthermore we are confident that he is not there.
"This is exceptionally disappointing to us in many ways.
"However, the search for Damien goes on and, as ever, we urge anyone who has information that they think can help us to make contact.''
Items recovered from the search have been removed and will be examined for any link to the missing teenager or any other police inquiries.
Damien, a talented guitar player, was last seen on security camera footage at Yorkie's Chip Shop on Cowes High Street at around 11.45pm.
His mother Valerie, 58, who now lives near Dallas in Texas, and his brother and two sisters, have campaigned vigorously to find out what happened to him.
Speaking from the United States, secretary Mrs Nettles said that she was "cautiously optimistic'' about the arrests but added that she was prepared for it to come to nothing.