West Midlands detectives are to start a fresh search for two boys who have been missing for nearly a decade, after questioning a convicted paedophile and murderer.
The investigation into the disappearance of David Spencer, aged 13, and 11-year-old Patrick Warren, who went missing on Boxing Day 1996, is resuming after police quizzed Brian Field, a farm labourer who lived in Solihull at the time.
He was jailed for life in 2001 for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Roy Tutill in Surrey in 1968. Field pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the 33-year-old murder, then thought to be the longest period between a crime being committed and solved, after being caught through a DNA test following a drink-driving offence.
Officers are believed to have visited Field, now 70, at Full Sutton prison, in York, to question him about David and Patrick.
They disappeared after telling their mothers they were going to stay with Patrick's brother, Andrew, who lived in Pike Drive, Chelmsley Wood. They had been playing on a bike one of them got as a Christmas present.
There was one positive sighting of them at about 12.45pm on December 27, 1996 at a local Esso service station, where they pleaded with a shop assistant to give them some biscuits. They were last seen walking towards the town centre shortly afterwards and the bike was discovered at the side of the petrol station.
Yesterday police confirmed they would be searching "areas around Birmingham". In addition to digging up areas of land, 10,000 appeal leaflets will be delivered to homes in Chelmsley Wood. To date officers have taken more than 300 statements.
Chief Superintendent Gordon Fraser said: "Somebody out there must know what happened to David and Patrick, and we would ask them to come forward now. They may have the last piece of information needed to complete the jigsaw.
"We may interview Field again, and until we establish what happened to David and Patrick, we cannot rule him out."