Relatives of missing Ben Needham have had their hopes dashed that he may have been found after a DNA test proved negative.
A test was carried out on a man who contacted Greek authorities believing he may have been Ben, who disappeared on the holidays island of Kos in 1991 when he was 21 months old.
Ben’s mum, Kerry, grandmother, Christine and sister Leighanna travelled to Greece to meet the man after being shown photographs.
But the results of a DNA test ruled out any link.
Ben’s mum Kerry took the toddler to Kos 24 years ago for a holiday while her parents were renovating a farmhouse on the island.
He was playing outside in the garden when he disappeared.
His mum has spearheaded a campaign to find him ever since, believing that he was snatched.
Earlier this year South Yorkshire Police was awarded £700,000 of Home Office funding to send a team out to Kos to step up the search for Ben and follow new leads.
Kerry said: “Despite the heartbreaking disappointment in Greece last month, where a DNA test proved a man we thought could be Ben was in fact someone else, my family and I remain hopeful for the future.
“I had the pleasure of visiting South Yorkshire Police on Monday and spent the day with the Operation Ben investigation team.
“I met each member of the team and listened to them speak passionately about what their roles are and witnessed first hand their commitment and dedication to finding the answers we so desperately want. I can’t describe how, as Ben’s mum, this made me feel.
“They have now laid the foundations for the investigation to move forward and will work closely with the Greek authorities to explore a number of lines of enquiry which still exist to find my son.
“I know that no-one can guarantee they will uncover what happened to Ben, but knowing that the police are trying to find answers has lifted my strength and hope immensely.”