Police make desperate appeal 20 years after body of five-year-old boy was found in Thames


Police have put out a desperate appeal for leads on the heart-breaking case of a little boy’s torso that was found in the Thames 20 years ago today.

The murder investigation into the discovery is still open, with police determined to solve the case.

Police investigating believe that now, 20 years on, relationships and allegiances between people may have changed or ended, and are specifically reaching out to people who have ended an association or connection with someone.

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They are urging those who may have feared coming forward in the past to “be bold” and speak up.

On Friday, September 21, 2001, at around 4pm a little boy’s torso was spotted in the River Thames by a member of the public with specialist police recovering the body of the boy, giving him the name ‘Adam’, with his real identity still unknown.

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Police forensics suggested Adam was just five or six years old and from Nigeria, police believing he was trafficked into the UK.

His head and limbs had been severed from his body which was clothed in only a pair of orange shorts.

Police determined his cause of death had been violent trauma to the neck area, and they believe it may have been a ritualistic killing.

For the last 20 years police say they have regularly reviewed the case, followed new lines of enquiry, and taken advantage of new technology in forensics to try to find Adam’s killer.

This has included comprehensive checks on all missing people in London, elsewhere in the UK, South Africa, Holland, Germany, and Nigeria.

Nelson Mandela even made an international appeal to all African communities across the world to help police in the case if they could.

But despite the investigation and many other high profile appeals, police are still no closer to solving the case.

Three arrests in the case previously all came to nothing:

  • A woman was previously arrested on suspicion of murder, she was later bailed and released with no further action.
  • A man was arrested and interviewed in connection with the possible trafficking of Adam into the UK. He was later bailed and released with no further action.
  • Another man was also arrested and interviewed on suspicion of alleged trafficking offences. He was later bailed and released with no further action.

DCI Kate Kieran, a homicide detective from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “It is incredibly sad and frustrating that Adam’s murder remains unsolved. The homicide command have been working tirelessly over the years to find out who is responsible.

“We recognise people may not have wanted to speak up at the time and may have felt loyal to the person or people involved in this.

“However, over the past 20 years, allegiances and relationships may have changed and some people may now feel more comfortable talking to us. We implore them be bold and come forward if they know something so that we can finally deliver justice once and for all.

“No matter how old or small that information may seem, it really could make all the difference.

“This young boy has not and will not be forgotten. He deserved better and we will not give up on him.”

Anyone with information relating this case should contact police on 101, Tweet @MetCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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