Two arrested in disappearance of Welsh teenager more than two decades ago

<span>Photograph: Family Handout/PA</span>
Photograph: Family Handout/PA

A man and a woman have been arrested by police investigating the disappearance of a teenager more than two decades ago.

South Wales Police confirmed a 59-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man were being held by detectives.

Robert Williams was 15 when he was last seen alive. The teenager left his home in Resolven, Neath, south Wales, on 22 March 2002 and is known to have attended a house party in the nearby village of Aberdulais the following day.

Det insp David Butt said: “Robert’s mum Cheryl has been updated on these arrests and our thoughts are very much with Robert’s family at this difficult time.

“Our priority is supporting them whilst we work through this new line of inquiry in the investigation.

“We ask that their privacy is respected as our investigation continues.”

Despite several police pleas, Robert has never been found and is presumed dead. Police said the arrests were made on Tuesday and the pair have since been bailed.

Earlier this month the teenager’s mother appealed for anyone with information about her son’s disappearance to speak to police. “I know that Robert is never coming home,” she said. “I just want his body back so I can bury him. He deserves that.

“I don’t want him out there on his own, and we need closure as a family. Someone out there knows what happened to him.

“As a mother, knowing my child is lying somewhere has destroyed me emotionally and physically. I need to know what happened to him.”

Detectives believe the community in Aberdulais holds the key to what happened to Robert, who would have turned 37 on 9 September.

In 2011 a year-long case review concluded that the teenager is most likely dead, having found no evidence to show he is alive.