The father of Andrew Gosden, who went missing as a teenager 14 years ago, has said the arrests of two men in connection with his son’s disappearance have “intensified” an emotional time for the family.
Detectives investigating Gosden’s disappearance from South Yorkshire in 2007 announced on Tuesday that they had arrested the men, aged 45 and 38, on suspicion of kidnap and human trafficking.
Gosden was 14 when he left his home in Doncaster on a Friday morning, emptied his bank account of almost £200 and bought a one-way ticket to London. He was last captured on CCTV emerging from Kings Cross station.
South Yorkshire police on Tuesday said two men were detained in London on 8 December, with the help of officers from the Metropolitan police. The older of the two suspects was also arrested for allegedly possessing indecent images of children.
Both have been released under investigation while inquiries continue.
Gosden’s father, Kevin Gosden, said the family had been informed about the arrests, but had not shared the information so as not to “prejudice the investigations being carried out in any way”.
In a statement posted to Twitter, he said the family had “carried the burden of not knowing for many years” and that the recent arrests “represent a more intensified period of this emotional journey”.
He wrote: “We cannot add to the information in the public domain, but would like to thank the media, general public and the charity Missing People for their support at this time and over the past years of our search for answers about what happened to Andrew.
Gosden’s disappearance on 14 September 2007 became one of the country’s most high-profile missing persons cases. Police were not able to trace any of the boy’s movements after he was captured on CCTV at Kings Cross, but his family campaigned to keep their son in the public consciousness and to help the families of other missing people.
They commissioned their own searches, including a sonar scan of the Thames, and issued images showing how he may have looked as he grew older. When Andrew went missing he was 5ft 3in, slim with light brown hair, with brown eyes on which he wore strong prescription glasses. He would now be 28, but his family have said he could be easily identified by an unusual double ridge on his right ear.
“Our priority at this time is supporting Andrew’s family while we work through this new line of inquiry in the investigation,” DI Andy Knowles, from South Yorkshire police, said.
“We are in close contact with them and they ask that their privacy is respected as our investigation continues.
“We have made numerous appeals over the years to find out where Andrew is and what happened to him when he disappeared. I would encourage anyone with any information they have not yet reported to come forward.”
A post on the campaign’s Twitter feed, which referenced a local newspaper story on the arrests, said on Tuesday: “It is a difficult time for Andrew’s family who currently know no more than what is written in the article.
“Police investigations will be ongoing for quite a while and we respectfully ask you to give them your support and consideration whilst this takes place.”