Man, 35, and woman, 59, arrested over cold case of boy who disappeared walking to party 21 years ago

26 September 2023, 20:41 | Updated: 26 September 2023, 20:54

A man and woman have been arrested in connection with Robert Williams' disappearance in 2002.
A man and woman have been arrested in connection with Robert Williams' disappearance in 2002. . Picture: South Wales Police

By Jenny Medlicott

Police have arrested a man and woman in connection with a 21-year-old cold case of a teenager who went missing while walking to a party in 2002.

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Robert Williams, 15, from Resolven, Neath was last seen on 22 March 2002 before he went missing while walking to a party in Tair Felin, Aberdulais.

Now over two decades later a man, 35, and woman, 59, have been arrested in connection with his disappearance.

South Wales police said in a statement: “A 59-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man were arrested early this morning and have since been bailed for further inquiries.”

“Robert’s mum Cheryl has been updated on these arrests and our thoughts are very much with Robert’s family at this difficult time. Our priority is supporting them whilst we work through this new line of inquiry in the investigation. We ask that their privacy is respected as our investigation continues,” Detective inspector David Butt added.

The arrest comes just weeks after police launched a renewed appeal for information on Robert’s disappearance.

David Butt said: “We remain committed to finding out what happened to Robert.

"I believe that the local community of Aberdulais holds key information that might help us understand what happened to him.

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Robert Williams went missing in 2002 while walking to a party.
Robert Williams went missing in 2002 while walking to a party. Picture: South Wales Police

“If you were at the party or have any information regarding Robert’s movements or disappearance, we would really like to speak to you.

"It may seem challenging to recall details from 21 years ago, but no matter how small or insignificant you think the information you hold is, it could prove vital to our investigation and could help provide Robert’s family with much-needed closure.

“All this time without answers has been agony for them – please if you hold information, it is not too late after all this time to come forward.”

Robert’s mother, Cheryl Williams, spoke out as the fresh appeal was launched on what would have been his 37th birthday.

She said: “I know that Robert is never coming home. I just want his body back so I can bury him. He deserves that. I don't want him out there on his own and we need closure as a family.”

Police released a photo what they think Robert would look like aged 24.
Police released a photo what they think Robert would look like aged 24. Picture: South Wales Police

Officers said they carried out extensive searches for Robert after his disappearance, including over 100 witness statements and proof of life inquiries.

They also said they searched the national fingerprint and DNA database, and also checked medical records.

In 2011 police said their inquiries had been unsuccessful as they added that: “there is tragically no evidence that Robert Williams is alive

South Wales Police said in 2011 "there is tragically no evidence that Robert Williams is alive” as they concluded their inquiries.

Anyone with information can contact South Wales Police by one of the below means quoting occurrence number 2300271756.

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