Police investigate whether body found in German river is Ben Needham

Police investigate whether body found in German river is Ben Needham

September 6, 2023

Police investigate whether body of young boy found in German river is tragic toddler Ben Needham who went missing more than 30 years ago on the Greek island of Kos

  • Ben Needham went missing in 1991 while playing at grandparents’ Greek house 

British police today confirmed they are investigating whether a body found in a German river is tragic toddler Ben Needham who went missing more than 30 years ago on the Greek island of Kos.

Ben’s heartbroken mother Kerry has been searching for her son, who was just 21 months old, ever since he vanished while playing at his grandparents’ farmhouse in July 1991.

She alerted South Yorkshire Police to a fresh appeal by international crimebusters Interpol to identify the body of a young child found by a canoeist in the River Danube in Bavaria more than a year ago, which had been weighed down with a flagstone slab and wrapped in foil.

After South Yorkshire Police confirmed they are investigating, Kerry said: ‘I’m pleased they are looking into it. Every possibility has to be investigated and ruled out. Our hope is that one day one piece of information will come forward which will uncover the truth.’

Interpol DNA Database Manager Francois-Xavier Laurent told local media on September 5: ‘We have received 33 hints from the public.’ The Laurent added: ‘We can now assume that this boy was probably not German.’

Ben Needham has been missing since July 24, 1991, while playing at his grandparents’ house

Kerry Needham has been searching for her son for more than 30 years 

In the Interpol Black Notice, the organisation said it was ‘seeking the public’s help in identifying a deceased boy and to determine the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death’. 

Interpol also published a graphic reconstruction of the boy’s head. The blue-eyed boy staring out of the photo is described as between five and six years old. The description went on: ‘The boy is thought to be aged between five and six. He was approximately 110 cm (43.3 in) tall and 15 kg (2.36 st), with brown hair and blood type 0.’

The investigators added: ‘The results of investigations indicate that he likely spent time outside of Germany.’

Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock said: ‘Through this Black Notice, Interpol is calling upon the global law enforcement community to cross-check databases and consult open or unsolved cases.’

He added: ‘Someone, somewhere knows something about this boy, making it equally important to release certain details publicly.

The unidentified child’s remains were discovered by a canoeist in the town of Grossmehring

‘Whether he was the victim of trafficking, abduction or violence, we are committed to mobilising all of Interpol’s policing capabilities to identify him and help investigators shed light on his death.’

He went on: ‘Members of the public, particularly those who remember a missing child whose characteristics and disappearance indicate a potential link to this case, are invited to contact the national police team in Germany should they have any information.’

Missing Ben’s mother Kerry had urged South Yorkshire Police to contact Interpol over her son.

She said: ‘I am hoping our British police will check this out and contact the German officers about this. We need to rule it out. I’ve always said all along that I don’t believe he’s died.’

Kerry added: ‘The reconstruction has a look of Ben. I never realised how child trafficking is so rife and massive.’

The investigations continue.

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