DNA tests on blood found on a toy car close to where Ben Needham went missing on Kos 27 years ago have ruled out any link with the Sheffield toddler.
Ben was 21 months old when he vanished on the Greek island during a visit to his grandparents, who had moved to the holiday isle.
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The toddler was playing outside a farmhouse his grandfather was renovating when he disappeared – leading to over two decades of mystery over what happened to him.
His family always suspected that he was abducted but in 2016 South Yorkshire Police said detectives believed Ben was killed by a digger which had been clearing land near to the spot where Ben was last seen on the day he disappeared.
The digger driver has been identified but is no longer alive.
A toy car believed to have belonged to Ben was among a number of items found when South Yorkshire Police carried out excavation work on Kos two years ago.
It has emerged today that blood found on the car was tested and was found not to be Ben’s.
His mum Kerry, 44, told the Daily Mirror: “Our 27 tears of slow torture goes on. It’s endless heartache and torment.”
She added: “If that blood is not Ben’s – then who does it belong to? It’s devastating. We had built ourselves up thinking it would be a positive result and would prove Ben had died.
“When it came back negative it was a shock. I don’t know what to think now. Is Ben dead or is he still alive?”
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Cousins, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Over several months detailed forensic work has been ongoing in relation to items brought back from Kos in 2016.
"This has utilised the most up-to-date forensic techniques with a comprehensive review and analysis being undertaken on the items recovered.
"I have recently updated Ben's family regarding some DNA found on a toy car, identified by them as being very similar to one Ben had in his possession on July 24, 1991.
“The DNA was not a match to Ben or his family, however, I would like to reiterate that despite this stage of forensic examination and the result, it is still my professional belief based on all the evidence and facts gathered during this investigation to date, that Ben died as a result of a tragic incident at the farmhouse in Kos, involving heavy machinery on that day.
“We will continue to support Ben's family and the Greek authorities, who retain primacy of this investigation, should any further information come to light. We will also consider any opportunity to continue the examination of all the items recovered."