On Saturday, May 3, 2003, seven-year-old Daniel Entwistle walked to his local corner store (Blencowe’s) in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK, to purchase something for his father. Daniel’s mother, Paula Entwistle, then 30 years old, was home resting as she was not feeling well.
One of the last sightings of Daniel is on the store’s surveillance video around 5 p.m. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and Daniel does not appear distressed. He walks up an aisle, goes out the main door, and turns left as he swings a carrier bag.
Daniel’s father, David Entwistle, said the boy returned home on Copperfield Avenue after running to Blencowe’s, dropped off the purchase, and headed outside to play on his bike.
Around 7:15 p.m., Paula Entwistle awoke from her nap and realized Daniel was still not home. Forty-five minutes later, the family called the police, and a search began. There were two unconfirmed sightings of Daniel on his estate.
Police recovered Daniel’s red and white bike along a harbor wall near the River Yare, about a half-mile from his home, around 3 a.m. Sunday, May 4, 2003. One of the tires had a puncture.
Authorities theorized Daniel fell into the river and drowned. However, they never found his body, but the river’s current might have swept it out to the North Sea, they said. Daniel was afraid of water and could not swim, so it doesn’t seem logical that he would climb the harbor wall, putting him at risk of falling into the river.
It is also possible that someone abducted Daniel.
Joseph Zugor, 67 in 2003, came forward a few days after Daniel disappeared. He claimed he saw Daniel playing with some kids near a raised wall by the River Yare around lunchtime on May 3 and again around 4 p.m. that same day. Zugor said Daniel and other children often played there.
Interestingly, Zugor’s account conflicts with Paula Entwistle’s statement on where she and the family were that day and the police’s version of events.
Paula claimed the whole family had gone shopping that afternoon, returned home, and then she went to rest as she felt unwell. Yet Zugor claimed to have seen Daniel playing around lunchtime.
Police claimed CCTV footage near the river did not show anyone else except Daniel.
Days into the investigation, Norfolk Police made it clear they might never find Daniel. Surprisingly, three months later, they closed the case.
In July 2003, authorities arrested David Entwistle for breaching an injunction banning him from seeing his wife. Simultaneously, they told Paula Entwistle about her husband’s previous 1986 conviction for sexual offenses against an 11-year-old girl.
Daniel’s grandfather, Keith Dutton, stated that authorities silenced the family on David Entwistle’s conviction and threatened them with arrest if they broke their silence. Norfolk police will not confirm or deny Entwistle’s conviction or why they hushed it up.
Paradox Media & Film Production UK is making a documentary highlighting Daniel’s case.
It’s worth noting that Daniel went missing on the same day (May 3) that another British child, Madeleine McCann, disappeared four years later in Portugal. Her case received tremendous media attention, but Daniel’s did not. The reason is likely because the McCanns were prominent British doctors, and Daniel’s family was middle class.
David Entwistle died in January 2015. Police treated his death as “non-suspicious.”