Lee Boxell disappearance, Sutton: £20k reward offered on 35th anniversary

Lee Boxell disappeared 35 years ago. (Photo family handout)Lee Boxell disappeared 35 years ago. (Photo family handout)
Lee Boxell disappeared 35 years ago. (Photo family handout)
Since 15-year-old Lee Boxell went missing, the Met Police investigation has met with conflicting stories, arrests and a graveyard search, but no answers.

A £20,000 reward for information has been offered on the 35th anniversary of the disappearance of a south London schoolboy.

The Met Police believes Lee Boxell is no longer alive.

The 15-year-old left his home in Sutton to go shopping on Saturday, September 10, 1988. He met with a friend and after they parted at around 1pm, the last confirmed sighting was at Sutton High Street at around 2pm.

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Since then there have arrests, conflicting stories and an excavation of a church graveyard - but no answers.

Met Police investigation into Lee Boxell disappearance

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn investigating said: “While we don’t have conclusive evidence that Lee came to harm, with no sightings or credible information in 35 years we sadly believe that Lee is no longer alive.

“Over the years we have interviewed a number of people who we believe were involved in, or know about Lee’s disappearance. When arrested, those people gave a number of conflicting accounts.

“One eighty-year-old man, who is now deceased, claimed that he had ‘helped Lee to get away’ and that he was now living away from his family under an assumed name. This version of events was investigated and was found not to have been credible.

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“This man, and his associates, also claimed that they had seen Lee a year later. However, members of the public called police anonymously with information stating that he had bragged that he had buried Lee in the churchyard at St Dunstan’s church in Cheam.

“That information led us to conduct the largest ever archaeological dig undertaken by the Met at St Dunstan’s church yard. Sadly, that search did not find Lee and his parents continue in their desperate hope to find him.

“Lee was a boy with a very happy family life. He was a good student who loved football. The story that he had run away, started a new life and was living under an assumed name was absolutely not viable.”

Information received during the investigation led officers to believe that Lee visited an unofficial youth club at St Dunstan’s Church, known locally as ‘The Shed’.

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Police say children and teenagers who visited The Shed, and who would be adults now, may have “vital information that they have not been able to share in the past”.

DCI Blackburn said: “My hope is that someone who didn’t feel they could speak to us in the past may now feel that they can come forward and share what they know.

“At this stage of our investigation my priority is to find Lee so that he can be returned to his parents. Lee’s parents deserve answers and they deserve the opportunity to bury their much-loved son.

“Your information could help end the suffering for Lee’s family. If you can help, anonymously or otherwise please do get in touch.”

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“We fear that Lee may have been murdered”

Lee’s parents, Peter and Christine Boxell, are appealing for Lee to be returned to them.

Peter 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 that Lee may have been murdered. We are still hoping that someone will come forward to help find his remains, so that my wife and I can say goodbye to our beloved son before it’s too late for us - we are in our late 70s. If you can help us and his sister finally know what happened and have some closure - please, do what’s right.

“If you know where he may be, or have any information about what happened to Lee, please contact the police Investigation team on 0208721 4005 or if you prefer, you can tell the charity Crimestoppers what you know, anonymously. Once you’ve given your information you need never have any further involvement with anyone about the case. Crimestoppers can’t identify who you are and will never ask or take any personal details from you. So, this really does give someone a chance to do the right thing and help ease our years of pain. We can then see Lee finally laid to rest”

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£20,000 reward

A reward of £20,000 has been offered by Crimestoppers for information that leads to the recovery of Lee’s remains. To be eligible for the reward the information would need to be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers direct and not via police.