Police have confirmed that they will be investigating a body of a young boy found in a German river to see if it is toddler Ben Needham who disappeared more than 30 years ago.
Ben vanished while playing at his grandparents’ farmhouse in July 1991 on the Greek island of Kos in 1991 at just 21 months old.
Distraught mother Kerry has been searching for him ever since.
International police force Interpol launched an appeal 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.
Ms Needham raised the appeal with British police, who have now confirmed they will investigate.
Interpol DNA Database Manager Francois-Xavier Laurent told local media on September 5 that the agency had received “33 hints from the public” about the body.
He added: “We can now assume that this boy was probably not German.”
Interpol have published a graphic reconstruction of the boy’s head. He has blue eyes, and “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 agency said.
The investigators added: “The results of investigations indicate that he likely spent time outside of Germany.”
Missing Ben’s mother Kerry had urged South Yorkshire Police to contact Interpol over her son, insisting that it needed to be “ruled out”.
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.”
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.
“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 added: “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.”
The investigation continues.