Police hunting for missing Ben Needham have asked Greek men who have doubts over their paternity to take a DNA test.
South Yorkshire Police are appealing for people to take voluntary DNA tests in the hope that it may help them track down Ben, who went missing as a toddler in 1991. Ben was just 21 months when he disappeared while he was on holiday on the Greek island of Kos.
Detectives investigating the case have flown to the island to hand out leaflets and they have offered a 12,500 euro (£9,800) reward to anyone who can help them find the missing tot, who will now be 26 years old.
Officers believe Ben may well be alive and have no idea of his real identity. They are hoping that men who suspect they may not be biologically related to their parents may come forward and agree to be tested.
The police are looking into claims that Ben may have been snatched and taken away from Kos on a black speedboat. They are also investigating an anonymous tip-off made to a reporter in 1993 in which it was claimed Ben’s name had been changed to Andreas and he was being looked after by a man called Nikos.
Detective Inspector Jon Cousins said: “I appeal to any individuals who believe they might be Ben themselves to come forward and speak to us. The question I would like people to ask themselves is: could you be Ben?”
Men may have doubts over parentage
He asked men around the age of 26 to get in touch if they thought there was a chance they might not be related to their parents because there were no photographs of them as babies or they did not resemble their family members.
He said: “As a child, did you have blond hair and blue eyes? Do you have doubts over who your parents are, or perhaps you look physically different to your parents?
“Perhaps there are no photographs of you as a child? If you have any of these doubts, please call us and there are trained detectives standing by to take your call.”
DI Cousins added: “We have a sample of Ben’s DNA and it would be very simple for us to carry out a test and find out if they are Ben. This can be done in total confidence and no one else has to know.”
He stressed that if they found Ben, it would be completely up to him what happened next.
He said: “We would work with him to ensure we come to an arrangement he is happy with. He would not be forced to do anything he didn’t want to do – he would be in full control. It would not affect his citizenship in Greece and nothing would have to change for him if he didn’t want it to.”
Back in 2013 a DNA test was carried out on a man in Cyprus who thought he might be the missing toddler but the results showed he was not Ben.
Paternity tests and relationship DNA tests can provide scientific answers to questions and doubts people may have about their family history. Tests can be ordered online from AlphaBiolabs in confidence and allow people to find out for sure whether they are biologically related to another person or not.