Ben Needham disappearance: What we know

Ben Needham
Ben Needham
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As search teams prepare to travel to Kos to search for Ben Needham, here is what is known about his disappearance:

- Ben vanished on the afternoon of July, 24, 1991.

- He was 21 months old when he disappeared.

- The toddler was holiday in Kos with his mum Kerry, whose parents were renovating a farmhouse on the Greek island, when he vanished.

- On the day Ben went missing he had been left with his grandparents, Eddie and Christine, while his mum, Kerry, was doing a shift as a waitress in a hotel.

- His grandparents left Ben playing outside while they went indoors for some lunch and to escape the sweltering heat. They soon realised that Ben had stopped coming in and out of the farmhouse and went outside to discover that he was nowhere to be seen.

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- The day after the disappearance builders working nearby told police they had seen a white car, containing a woman and two men, parked close to the farmhouse

- During the 1990s one of the main theories around the disappearance was that Ben had been abducted by gypsies. The Needham family followed up a number of leads, which proved fruitless.

- In 1997 Kerry wrote to then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, expressing her fears about the lack of progress with the investigation into the disappearance

- In 2003, the charity Missing People and the Metropolitan Police issued a computer age generated photo of what Ben would look like at age then, when he would have been 12. A second one was issued two years later, a third on his 18th birthday and a fourth on his 21st birthday.

- Kerry wrote to then Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008 begging for the British police investigation into the disappearance to be re-opened.

- An official website and Facebook page about the disappearance of Ben was launched in 2010, featuring posters in 19 different languages.

- In February 2012, Kerry received a response from Buckingham Palace after writing to the Queen about the disappearance. Then Prime Minister, David Cameron, wrote to the family promising Government support to South Yorkshire Police and to press the Greek authorities for information.

- South Yorkshire detectives travelled to Kos in 2012 to search a mound of earth and rubble close to where the toddler was last seen, but no trace of him was found.

- Detectives returned to Kos in May this year to appeal for new information on the disappearance and follow up new lines of inquiry.

- Earlier this year, South Yorkshire Police secured £450,000 from the Home Office to help fund the search for Ben, on top of the £700,000 it secured in 2015.

- DNA tests have been carried out on over 30 men in the hunt for Ben since April 2015, when South Yorkshire Police re-focused efforts on cracking the case using the home Office cash.

- During the course of the investigation into the disappearance of Ben, nearly 3,000 people have been spoken to.

- Search teams are preparing to travel to Kos over the next few weeks to examine two sites where material from a building plot close to the Needham farmhouse was dumped around the time Ben vanished.


- A£10,000 reward is available from Crimestoppers for information leading to the discovery of Ben