Police say missing schoolboy is 'most likely' dead
Police have stopped looking for a schoolboy who disappeared more than nine years ago after concluding he is now probably dead.
Robert Williams, 15, of Resolven, near Neath, South Wales, has been missing from home since March 2002.
His devastated mother has now been told by police that her son "most likely" died some time over the last nine years.
She made a last desperate plea today for anyone with any information about her son's disappearance to come forward.
Failure to find him follows the conclusion of a year-long case review and exhaustive missing person investigation.
It included an age progression photograph created for the police to highlight how Robert might look today aged 24.
"Over the past year we have revisited all potential lines of inquiry, over 100 further witness statements have been taken and we have also carried out extensive proof of life inquiries which have all proved negative," said Detective Inspector Mark Lewis, of the South Wales Police Specialist Crime Investigation Team.
"In addition we have searched the national fingerprint and DNA databases, checking medical records and contacting a large number of organisations in the hope that Robert may have been linked to them since his disappearance.
"As a result of these inquiries there is tragically no evidence that Robert Williams is alive and I have now informed Robert's family that the most likely outcome is that Robert has died some time over the past nine years."
He added: "Robert's mother Cheryl is naturally devastated by this news and is asking through this media appeal for anyone with information about Robert's disappearance and likely death to come forward and provide any information they know.
"Every day since Robert's disappearance has been a struggle and traumatic for Cheryl and her family. She is pleading with the public to help provide her with closure and end this nightmare that she has had to endure for over nine years.
"All outstanding missing person cases remain open and if any new evidence came to light then we would fully investigate it."
South Wales Police can be contacted on 01792 562 732 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?
Oscar Pistorius trial: Neighbour feared athlete would use gun that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to shoot himself
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete 'cheated on me' with Reeva Steenkamp, former girlfriend Samantha Taylor tells Pretoria court
Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Italian pensioner hires an escort who turns out to be his son's girlfriend
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...
£40k to £50k pa OTE £80k: Charter Selection: My client, a leading profitable a...
£46,141 to £51,816: Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland: The PPS i...