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Emilia Fox’s In The Footsteps of Killers to explore disappearance of David Spencer and Patrick Warren

A new look at what happened to the Milk Carton Kids in 1996.

In The Footsteps of Killers
Published: Wednesday, 9th June 2021 at 4:44 pm

In The Footsteps of Killers is a three-part Channel 4 documentary series, presented by Silent Witness star Emilia Fox and renowned criminologist Professor David Wilson.


Together, alongside a team of researchers, the pair attempts to solve three cold cases using forensic science and criminological research to reveal new suspects and clues. They travel to the scene of each crime, and interview suspects, friends and family who were involved in each case, while also recreating the steps the killer may have taken.

The first episode of In The Footsteps of Killers, on Channel 4 at 10pm on Wednesday, 9th June, looks at the case of ‘The Milk Carton Kids’ – two young boys who went missing late at night on Boxing Day in 1996.

Friends Patrick Warren, who was 11, and David Spencer, aged 13, who had been playing out late, were last seen at a petrol station near their homes in Solihull, Birmingham after midnight on December 27th, 1996, where the attendant working there gave them some biscuits.

After the boys were reported missing the following day by their families, Patrick and David became the first missing children in England to appear on large milk cartons sold by Iceland supermarkets, and so became known as ‘The Milk Carton Kids’ in the press.

There are various theories about what happened to the boys. A policeman reported that he saw them both playing by a frozen lake earlier on Boxing Day, and that he warned them it could be dangerous. It was later searched but no evidence was found.

Patrick’s Christmas present – a new bicycle – was found abandoned the day after their disappearance, but wasn’t identified as Patrick’s until weeks later. Known paedophiles in the area were questioned but police did investigate the possibility that the boys had been kidnapped and killed, especially as they believed Patrick wouldn’t have left his new bike intentionally.

In November 2020, human remains were found during building work near a Land Rover factory three miles from where the boys were last seen, but it was confirmed that the bones were not thought to be those of Patrick and David.

It was thought their case would never be solved. However, during the making of In the Footsteps of Killers, new evidence has been uncovered, and Emilia Fox and Professor David Wilson will reveal new information, and a possible prime suspect, during the episode.


In The Footsteps of Killers is on Channel 4 on 9th June. If you’re looking for something else to watch, visit our TV Guide. Check out our Documentaries hub for all the latest news.


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