New in­for­ma­tion leads to search for tod­dler miss­ing on Greek is­land since 1991

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Po­lice teams search­ing for miss­ing tod­dler Ben Need­ham on the Greek is­land of Kos have said they are “op­ti­mistic” about new ex­ca­va­tion work.

Ben, from Sh­effield, was 21 months old when he dis­ap­peared on 24 July 1991 dur­ing a fam­ily hol­i­day.

Dig­ging has be­gun at a new site af­ter a fresh line of in­quiry sug­gested he could have been crushed by a dig­ger.

South York­shire Po­lice said it con­tin­ued to keep an “open mind” about what hap­pened to Ben.

The dig is ex­pected to take 10 to 12 days, with the team of 19 ex­pected to find “hun­dreds” of bones to be an­a­lysed.

Det Insp Jon Cousins, from SYP, said: “There are many lines of in­quiry.

“I am keep­ing an open mind, but what I know at the mo­ment with all the in­for­ma­tion we have, I’ve made the de­ci­sion that it is nec­es­sary to do the work that we are go­ing to be do­ing over the next week or so.” He added: “I am op­ti­mistic about the search tak­ing place.” The new Greek led in­ves­ti­ga­tion, be­ing sup­ported by South York­shire po­lice, was trig­gered by a friend of builder Kon­stanti­nos Barkas.

It was claimed Mr Barkas may have ac­ci­den­tally killed Ben while clear­ing land with an ex­ca­va­tor close to where the tod­dler was play­ing on the day he van­ished.

Mr Barkas re­port­edly died of stom­ach can­cer last year, months be­fore de­tec­tives from South York­shire Po­lice ar­rived on the is­land for a re­newed in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

His widow Var­vara strongly dis­missed any sug­ges­tions her late hus­band had killed Ben.

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