Fresh testimony from a witness has opened a new line of inquiry into the 1991 disappearance of British toddler Ben Needham on the Greek island of Kos, the UK’s Mirror reported on Friday.
According to the report, a friend of a man working on a construction site near the island home of Ben’s grandparents when the toddler went missing on July 24, 1991, told the South Yorkshire Police – which has been working with Greek authorities to investigate the disappearance – that the excavation machine operator accidentally crushed the toddler when he wandered onto the construction site.
Digger operator Constantinos Barkas, known as Dino, had been questioned on several occasions by both local and British police, and had denied any knowledge of Ben’s whereabouts. The witness, who has not been named, told authorities that Dino, who died of stomach cancer last year, may have been responsible for the 21-month-old toddler’s death and disposed of his body at one of two dump sites used by the construction crew.
“What they [South Yorkshire Police] had to tell me was the last thing they would have ever wanted to. They think my Ben could be dead and buried,” Ben’s mother, Kerry Needham, told the Mirror. “They are no longer looking for a missing person. How do I cope with that? My mother’s instinct has always told me he was alive. What if I’ve been wrong all this time?”
According to the report, special teams have been dispatched to the island to dig the two sites indicated by the witness, who came forward after an appeal on Greek TV last year and said that he felt at liberty to divulge his knowledge of the events that led to Ben’s disappearance since Dino has died.