The heartbroken Sheffield mum whose toddler son vanished on a Greek holiday island 24 years ago today believes now is the best chance they have of finding him.
Ben Needham’s mum Kerry said his family are more positive than ever that they will get answers about his disappearance from the village of Iraklise, Kos, on July 24, 1991.
Despite hundreds of reported sightings over the years, Ben, who was 21 months old when he disappeared, has not been found.
Kerry, of Parson Cross, said: “We are a lot more positive. Although the 24th is always a bad day for us I feel that things are not standing still anymore and are continuously moving.
“It is amazing for us to have a team actively working for us and working for Ben.
“They are determined and they are positive in their attitude towards Ben’s investigation. The energy and positivity that they are putting into the case is just amazing.”
Earlier this year, South Yorkshire Police received £700,000 from the Home Office to fund a dedicated team of nine officers to focus on the investigation and assist Greek authorities in continuing the search for him.
Independent charity Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to £10,000 to anyone who provides information which leads to the discovery of Ben. Ben’s family have also made an appeal on Greek TV along with two South Yorkshire Police detectives, sparking dozens of calls with potential information.
Kerry said her family always spend the anniversary of Ben’s disappearance together.
She said: “Normally we have a family day and we go out somewhere. Last year we bought a plant and remembered the day.
“It’s not a celebration but we don’t sit around being morbid.
“This year we will be decorating my house as my daughter, her partner and daughter are all moving in with me.
“It will still be a family day. We will be trying to keep busy. We don’t want to dwell on anything depressing and want to remain positive because that is what the investigating police officers are and we want to be positive too.”
Detective Inspector Jon Cousins, of South Yorkshire Police, believes the answers to Ben disappearance still remains in Greece.
He said: “The appeal on Greek television gave us an awful lot of information and we are still working our way through that.
“We have been out to Greece and spoken with people who were already in the system to see what they have to say.
“We have a number of leads from these visits and are now reviewing these.
“We will be doing more visits again in the future in order to clarify matters and see new people who have not been involved in the investigation before.”
He added: “The anniversary reminds us of the job we are here to do. We are here to find out what happened to Ben 24 years ago and what has been happening to him since then so we can get answers for his family.
“We are not doing anything particular to mark the event but to raise consideration for what his family are going through and have been going through.”