COPS have confirmed that the body of a toddler found in a German river is not that of Ben Needham.
South Yorkshire Police, supported by Europol, revealed that a DNA sample of the body found in the River Danube does not match that of missing toddler Ben.
Ben was playing at his grandparents' farmhouse on the Greek island of Kos when he disappeared on July 24, 1991.
He was just 21 months old when he vanished over three decades ago.
Ben's mum Kerry had been waiting anxiously for news after she was alerted to an appeal for information after German police found remains in the River Danube.
Interpol had revealed a sketch of the toddler found in the water on May 19, 2022 – with the child estimated to be about five or six-years-old.
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And mum Kerry begged for police to investigate, saying: "I am hoping our British police will check this out and contact the German officers about this. We need to rule it out."
But cops have now confirmed that the young boy was initially discovered in the Bavarian river in May 2022 was not Ben.
South Yorkshire Police said: "Ben’s family has been informed and are being supported.
"Our thoughts remain with the young boy who is yet to be identified and, of course, the Needham family who continue in their search for answers."
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Interpol previously said that the child found had been weighed down with a flagstone slab and was wrapped in foil.
The international police agency published details of the case in hopes of finding the boy's name and determining "the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death".
He was around 3ft 6ins tall and weighed around two stone four lbs with brown hair and type O blood.
Interpol DNA Database Manager Francois-Xavier Laurent earlier said: "We can now assume that this boy was probably not German."
SEARCHING FOR BEN
Ben vanished more than three decades ago while playing at his grandparents' farmhouse.
Kerry had recently moved to Kos from Sheffield, to start a new life with her family, when the tragedy happened.
She had left her son with her grandparents while she went to work, not realising she would never see him again.
Ben had been coming in and out of the home – a farmhouse that was being renovated by the family – when, at around 2.30pm, it was discovered the young child had disappeared.
At first, Ben's family began to search nearby for the tot, assuming that he had wandered off, or that Kerry’s teenage brother Stephen had taken him out for a ride on his moped.
However, there was no sign of Ben and eventually the search for him was widened.
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Police efforts to dig the land at the farmhouse failed to uncover remains, though it was reportedly their “professional belief” that Ben died when a digger driver accidentally ran over him.
South Yorkshire Police have twice sent a team of their own to the island, the latest time being after a witness came forward to say that before his death, digger driver Konstantinos “Dino” Barkas, who has since died, confessed to killing Ben.
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