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Donegal journalist Alys Harte investigates disappearance of teenage boy 20 years ago

Alys Harte, left, and Bronagh Munro have been investigating the disappearance of a teenage boy on the Isle of Wight 20 years ago

A JOURNALIST working on a documentary investigating the disappearance of a teenage boy on the Isle of Wight 20 years ago is the grand-daughter of former Donegal TD Paddy Harte.

Alys Harte from Letterkenny has been examining the case of Damien Nettles (16) who vanished after a night out in Cowes in 1996.

Almost two decades later, his body has never been found and no-one has been charged.

Ms Harte and fellow journalist Bronagh Munro, from Glasgow, investigate the case for a new BBC Three show, Unsolved: The Boy Who Disappeared.

The evidence they gathered through their investigations are showcased in a series of digital videos, which were launched yesterday.

The online format is built around eight short episodes of around 15 minutes, combined with maps, key evidential footage and documents and additional interviews published across BBC Three platforms and social media.

Ms Harte, whose grandfather is a former Fine Gael politician who served for 36 years in Donegal North-East, said the questions they asked during the series include, was Damien murdered and if so, who was behind his death and disappearance.

"We had to wade through almost 20 years of rumour, speculation and lies," she said.

"Deciphering fact from fiction was our greatest challenge."

His mother Valerie Nettles described how "the last 20 years has been a struggle".

"Not knowing for sure has been the worst possible part," she said.

"I was totally impressed at the level of investigation of the Unsolved team. I threw everything I had and more at them to cipher through.

"Now I am able to look at my son's case through new eyes and to see things from a new perspective."

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