Date: 26 Dec 1996
Patrick Warren and David Spencer disappeared in the early hours of 26 December 1996.
They were last seen near a petrol station near their homes shortly after midnight. They were due to spend the night at Patrick Warren's brother's flat but never arrived.
Patrick Warren had been given a new red bicycle for Christmas which was found soon after behind the petrol station, which the police said discounted the theory that they had run away.
They had earlier been ice skating with some friends on Meriden Lake where they were warned off by a policeman at about 4.30pm on 25 December 1996. After that they went off to a friend’s house and then went back to David Spencer's house in Circus Avenue at 12.30am, but they didn't stay for long and went out again saying that they were going to Patrick Warren's brother's flat. They were seen at 12.30am in a petrol station where they were scrounging for biscuits.
When they were last seen at 12.45am, Patrick Warren was riding his bicycle and David Spencer was walking, and they were heading off together towards Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre.
They were said to have been street-smart kids and at first it was thought that they were playing a game and staying away from home and it was said later by academics that it was clear that the police regarded them as runaways in the early stages of the investigation and had as such lost many opportunities to find their possible murderer.
It was also said that the fact that the case involved two young boys made it more likely over time that something serious had happened to them.
After it became clear that they were missing, their images were put on the sides of four-pint milk cartons across Iceland's 770 stores as part of a campaign by the National Missing Persons Helpline.
Their descriptions were given as:
In 2003 a man was arrested in connection with their disappearance but no charges were made.
In 2007 the police dug up wasteland about four miles from their home off of Old Damson Lane in Solihull after a case review and after having spoken to a convicted paedophile and murderer who raped and strangled a 14-year old boy in 1968. At the time the convicted murderer had been working in Chelmsley Wood as a gardener and odd job man and had access to the site over Christmas 1996 to dump garden waste. However, he denied any involvement in their murders.
On 17 November 2020 it was reported that bones of two people had been found during building work near Birmingham International Airport. The site had been a field at the time they vanished and it was reported that the bones appeared to be those of two children. It was reported that the police had said that there was every chance that they could be the remains of Patrick Warren and David Spencer.