Parents of a missing schoolboy last seen in 1988 are hoping to find out what happened to their son before they go to their graves.
Lee Boxell was 15-years-old when he vanished from his home in Cheam, on September 10, 1988.
He was believed to be on his way to a football match at Selhurst Park but was last seen on Sutton High Street shortly after 2 pm that day.
A review of circumstances led detectives to believe that Lee actually visited an unofficial youth club at St Dunstan’s Church in Cheam, known locally as ‘the shed’.
Detectives believe that Lee visited the shed on the afternoon of Saturday, September 10, the day of the last known sighting, where he witnessed someone being sexually assaulted.
It is also believed that he was subjected to an assault in order to stop him from identifying and exposing the suspect, and that this assault proved fatal.
Lee’s father Peter Boxell, 74, has now spoken of his hope to finally find out what happened to his son so he can lay him to rest.
“We’re both getting old now, so we don’t want to go to our graves without knowing what has happened to our son,” he said.
“My friend Peter Lawrance died recently – It’s really sad. He died without knowing what had happened to his daughter Claudia.
“I used to sing with him in the Missing People’s choir, he is a lovely man,” Peter said.
This week, on February 16, 2021, It was Lee’s 48th birthday which sparked a wide-spread tribute online.
“Hundreds of people put lovely comments on Facebook where I shared the appeal from Missing People charity,” Peter told Sutton Guardian.
“It’s really heartwarming. I know so many people remember Lee and care about him.”
He added: “We think about him every day. We’ve got pictures of Lee all over the house and there’s one picture of Lee that I’m really proud of.
“It’s a charcoal portrait done by an artist, Amy Florence, It’s based on a little photograph that I gave her.
“It’s a beautifully drawn portrait, and its as if though Lee is looking back at me, its in our living room. Just opposite my favourite chair.
“It’s like he is here with us,” he said.
Speaking about how he copes with special occasions such as birthdays, Peter said: “For many years, I decided the best thing to do to cope with our situation is to lead an as normal life as possible.
“A few weeks after Lee first disappeared, I made sure I went back to work and kept myself busy.
“We got a daughter, at the time, I didn’t want her life to be turned upside down so we just carried on as normal.
“We do try and enjoy ourselves the best as we can. We don’t go around sad all the time, life wouldn’t be worth living if we were like that.
We got to look for the good things in life, and be thankful for our blessings, which are many.”
Peter speaks on the latest investigation being carried out by TV reporter Mark Williams-Thomas.
“Mark is investigating Lee’s disappearance and he is working with a national newspaper and hopefully they will continue the investigation.
I think it has been hampered with covid lockdown, but once they are free to talk to people, they will get information and hopefully closer to the truth.
“I know Mark has interviewed a lot of people who were involved with the unofficial club, the shed.
“We are just keeping our fingers crossed that somebody will hopefully come forward.”
He added: “There has been a big campaign on billboards for the Missing People charity, and at this time they are featuring Lee as the missing boy on their poster.
“Everytime people see a picture on the billboard of Lee they photograph it and send it to me.”
Peter went onto say that the company who displays the adverts agreed to feature Missing People whenever there is an empty space.
“I think a lot of companies are cutting back on advertising at the moment which means there are lots of billboards featuring Lee,” he said.
Commenting on Missing People’s advertisement, he said: “It’s terrific. They’ve produced lots of publicity for us and appeals.
“They are always doing something behind the scenes and getting people interested in our stories. So that nobody does forget it.”
We’ve just got to live in hope that we will find an answer soon hopefully because I’m 74 and my wife is 78 so we need to know soon.
“I like to keep the story alive because there is always a chance that somebody will read it and talk to somebody about it.
“And somebody will say, ‘I know what happened. ”
Peter Boxell is urging any with information to contact the police.
Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.