The father of a man who went missing more than 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.
Andrew Gosden, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was 14 when he vanished in September 2007 after apparently travelling to London.
South Yorkshire Police announced on Tuesday that two men were detained in the capital on Thursday December 8 with the help of Met officers.
Andrew’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 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.
“We have carried the burden of not knowing for many years and recent potential developments represent a more intensified period of this emotional journey for us, so we hope that you understand how difficult this time is for us as a family and wish to thank you for your support and prayers.”
He also said the family were “overwhelmed with messages”.
A 45-year-old was arrested on suspicion of kidnap, human trafficking and the possession of indecent images of children; while a 38-year-old was held on suspicion of kidnap and human trafficking, a spokesman said.
Both have now been released under investigation while inquiries continue.
Andrew, who will now be 28, vanished on September 14 2007, with the case becoming one of the most high-profile missing person probes in the North.
He emptied his bank account of about £200 and went to Doncaster station, where he bought a one-way ticket to London King’s Cross.
His family and police believe he boarded a train at 9.35am, arriving at Kings Cross at 11.20am.
CCTV images captured at the station – and later released by South Yorkshire Police – made up the last known sighting of Andrew, with no further information about his movements corroborated by officers.
His family have staged a high profile campaign over the years to keep their son in the public eye and to help the families of other missing people.
Detective Inspector Andy Knowles, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “Our priority at this time is supporting Andrew’s family while we work through this new line of enquiry in the investigation.
“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.”