Bodies of David Spencer, 13, and Patrick “Paddy” Warren have never been found
The brother of one of the missing Milk Carton Kids who disappeared 25 years ago is searching for his remains along with a number of volunteers after a tip-off.
David Spencer, 13, and Patrick “Paddy” Warren were out playing in Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham, when they vanished on Boxing Day, 1996.
The bodies of the pair – known as the Milk Carton Kids after police printed pleas for information on milk containers – have never been found. The last known sighting of them was at a petrol station at 12.45am on 27 December, 1996.
Murderer Brian Field was interviewed by police in 2006 but was never charged and always denied any involvement in the boys’ disappearance. He was jailed for life in 2001 for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Surrey schoolboy Roy Tutill, killed in 1968.
David’s brother Lee O’Toole, 34, is now leading a dig on land off Damson Wood Lane, near Solihull Moors FC, West Midlands.
Hundreds of volunteers started working in shifts on Monday after organisers said they received “credible” new information following the airing of Channel 4 documentary “In the Footsteps of Killers”.
The programme aired earlier this month and claimed that suspect Field had been seen with the boys in the days before they vanished.
Mr O’Toole said: “The community is doing what the police should do.
“A man contacted me directly to say he had seen a man digging in a field off Damson Wood Lane, near Solihull Moors Football Club, at the time they disappeared.
“Apparently he’s been telling the police for years and they’ve never acted on it.
“I don’t know what more police need. They’ve left me no choice other than to put the shovel in the ground.”
Posting a video of the search on Facebook, a member of the group added: “We have been tipped off, due to the documentary, someone has come forward and told us that this place cannot go unlooked.
“We’re going to be here every single day. We are at the back of the 3G football pitch at Solihull Moors exactly at the half-way line.
“Everyone deserves justice. Please repost this. We need people to come here.. Bring your shovels and machinery. We need your help.”
West Midlands Police, who are still investigating the boys’ disappearance, have urged volunteers to stay away from the unofficial dig site.
A force 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.”
Additional reporting by SWNS