THE CASE of Nicola Payne will not be closed until she is found, the senior investigating officer has promised.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Slevin has said he and West Midlands Police remain to committed to finding the missing teenager’s body – allow her devastated family to finally put her to rest.
Speaking after weeks of fresh searches of woodland near Coombe Abbey, Dt Chf Insp Slevin told the Observer the area still remained a ‘significant site of interest’ and that he was ‘convinced’ Nicola was taken to Coombe Abbey the day she went missing.
He added: “Search advisors and I have reviewed what has been going on, what still needs to happen and there are many search stages still to go.
“We will continue to search the area until we’ve either eliminated it as a site of interest or find something relevant to the investigation.
“At the moment we have to be led by intelligence and witnesses.
“We have searched Coombe Abbey in the past and that was related to proximity to where Nicola went missing and sightings of interest.
“But this is the first time we’ve had a live witness who has pointed us back to that area, which is an area we hadn’t searched before.”
Following the acquittal of two men for Nicola’s murder last year, the forced renewed its pledge for justice for Nicola and her family.
Officers issued a fresh appeal for information connected to her disappearance on December 14, 1991, and Dt Chf Insp Slevin urged people to come forward with any information and allow the force to judge whether it is relevant to the investigation.
He also issued a personal message to people protecting those responsible for the crime: “I’d ask them to look at where they are now.
“Are they a parent or someone who was Nicola’s age when she went missing, are they the grandparent of someone that is Owen’s age when Nicola went missing?
“Put yourself in John and Marilyn’s shoes, put yourself in Nicola’s brothers shoes and ask yourself what is the right thing to do.
“You owe it to the people of Coventry and Nicola’s pained family to bring this case to a close.”
Anyone with information about Nicola’s disappearance should contact the investigation team on 101 or call Crimestoppers, confidentially on 0800 555 111.