Milk Carton Kids: Brother digs for answers in search for missing boys

1 July 2021, 10:48 | Updated: 1 July 2021, 18:30

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A team of volunteers in Solihull are digging for clues about two children who went missing in Solihull 25 years ago.

David Spencer and Patrick Warren, 11 and 13, vanished on Boxing Day in 1996 and have not been seen since, with both boys suspected to have been killed and police closing the case.

But the group, which includes David's brother, said they want to continue searching for answers after fresh clues were revealed during a Channel 4 documentary about the incident.

Mike Amyes, also from Solihull, told the crew he knew suspect Brian Field for "about 12 years" and used to drink with him, before he was jailed for life in 2001 for the kidnap, rape and murder of Surrey schoolboy Roy Tutill.

He alleged he spotted Field with the pair just days before they went missing, and later saw him digging holes at a site next to Solihull Moors FC football ground.

'Milk Carton Kids' Patrick Warren and David Spencer went missing in Solihull in 1996
'Milk Carton Kids' Patrick Warren and David Spencer went missing in Solihull in 1996. Picture: PA Images
Patrick Warren was one of the first missing children to be used 'missing persons' adverts on milk cartons
Patrick Warren was one of the first missing children to be used 'missing persons' adverts on milk cartons. Picture: PA Images

The pair became known as the "Milk Carton Kids" after being the first children to appear on milk cartons as part of a campaign by the National Missing Persons Helpline.

West Midlands Police (WMP) has been criticised in the years following the disappearance of the boys, accused of not searching thoroughly enough and failing to follow new leads in the case.

A volunteer shows an item that was found during the digging
A volunteer shows an item that was found during the digging. Picture: LBC

Mr Amyes accused officers of dismissing his claims without investigating but said he was "relieved" the community was continuing to search for evidence.

The force admitted there were "frustrations" and "a lack of trust around our initial investigation" but urged people not to "take matters into their own hands".

Volunteers have begun their own digging efforts
Volunteers have begun their own digging efforts. Picture: LBC

A WMP spokesperson said: "We recognise and sympathise with the strong sense of feeling surrounding the disappearance of Patrick Warren and David Spencer in 1996.

"It’s highly emotive for their families, friends and the wider community. We understand there are many frustrations and a lack of trust around our initial investigation and the many reviews we’ve carried out since.

"We also know a group has been set up encouraging people to take matters into their own hands and dig at the back of a football ground in Damson Wood Lane.

"We’d urge people not to do this. Searching should be left to us and is based on areas of interest, we use trained specialist experts who are able to preserve any evidence that may be found.

"We’re in touch with the Spencer family, and others, who are providing new information. If you have any information regarding this very sad case and not yet contacted us, please do so, we will always act upon new information."