Lee Boxell’s father has asked the public to help “ease our years of pain” and reveal whether his son was murdered, 35 years after he disappeared aged 15.
The Metropolitan Police have made a fresh appeal for information about the teenager’s disappearance and Crimestoppers is offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of his remains.
Lee left his home in Sutton, south London, on September 10, 1988, to go shopping, police said.
He met a friend and they broke up around 1 p.m.
Police said the last confirmed sighting of Lee was on Sutton High Street at around 2.20pm.
He has not been seen again in the 35 years since.
Lee’s parents, Peter and Christine Boxell, said they were desperate for their son’s return.
Mr Boxell said: “We have not seen or heard from our dear son Lee since he went to Sutton 35 years ago on September 10, 1988.
“He was only 15 when he disappeared. We fear Lee was murdered.
“We are still hoping that someone will come forward to help search for his remains so that my wife and I can say goodbye to our beloved son before it is too late for us (we are in our late 70s).”
“If you can help us and his sister finally find out what happened and find closure, please do the right thing.”
He added: “This really gives someone a chance to do the right thing and helps ease our years of pain. “Then we can see Lee finally laid to rest.”
He asked anyone with information to contact police on 020 8721 4005 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.
Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn said: “Whilst we have no conclusive evidence that Lee has suffered any harm, we unfortunately believe that Lee is no longer alive as he has not been sighted or received any credible information in the last 35 years.”
“Over the years we have interviewed a number of people who we believe were involved in or knew of Lee’s disappearance. Upon their arrest, these individuals made a number of contradictory statements.”
Some 24 years after his disappearance, police learned that Lee attended an annex to St Dunstan’s Church called “The Shed” which was a hangout for teenagers targeted by sex offenders.
In 2014, three men were arrested on suspicion of murder but were later released on bail.
Ms Blackburn added: “I hope that someone who hasn’t felt like they can talk to us in the past will now feel like they can come forward and share their knowledge.”
“At this stage of our investigation, my priority is to find Lee so he can be returned to his parents. Lee’s parents deserve answers and they deserve the opportunity to bury their beloved son.
“Your information could help end the suffering for Lee’s family. If you can help anonymously or in any other way, please contact us.”