Cops involved held a press conference have revealed during their stay on the island they found “one significant item” on a second site on the Greek island of Kos.
Ben”s mum Kerry broke down in tears on Sunday as the three-week long search for the missing toddler ended.
Speaking at the scene, Detective Inspector Jon Cousins said: “My team and I know that machinery, including a large digger, was used to clear an area of land on 24 July 1991, behind the farmhouse that was being renovated by the Needhams.
“It is my professional belief that Ben Needham died as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse in Iraklis where he was last seen playing.
Here is a timeline of events charting the disappearance of Sheffield toddler Ben Needham on the Greek island of Kos 25 years ago.
– July 24 1991: Ben Needham vanishes while playing near the grounds of a farmhouse in the Iraklis region of Kos, which his family are renovating. His mother, Kerry Needham, and grandparents raise the alarm with local police and conduct a full search of the area.
– July 26 1991: Eyewitness reports claim a boy matching Ben”s description was found at the local airport on the day he disappeared. That boy has never been traced.
– September 1991: The Needham family return to England due to illness, but vow to continue the search.
– June 2003: The Metropolitan Police issue an image of what Ben might look like at age 12-14 years old.
– 2004 An anonymous businessman offers a reward of £500,000 for information leading to Ben”s safe return.
– October 2010: Another public appeal is made by Ben”s mother in the run-up to what would be his 21st birthday.
– May 2011: The BBC airs a programme called Missing 2011, which includes a piece on Ben”s story and the campaign to find him.
– September 2011: Greek police on Kos officially re-open the case and grant the family a face-to-face meeting with the island”s prosecutor.
– October 2012: South Yorkshire Police in Kos begin digging up mounds around the property where Ben went missing to look for his remains.
– December 2013: Ben”s mother accuses then-prime minister David Cameron of not giving her case the same backing as he gave the parents of Madeline McCann. It comes as a dossier is produced containing reports from eight witnesses, none of who know each other, who all saw a boy possibly matching Ben”s description with the same Greek family.
– December 2014: Lawyers representing Ben”s family say they may take legal action to try to force the Government to make a decision about funding a new police investigation.
– January 2015: The Home Office agrees to fund a team of British detectives to help search for the toddler.
– March/April 2015: Three generations of Ben Needham”s family travel to Greece to follow up a “strong” lead that a man living there believes he may be the missing Brit due to having no photographs of himself under the age of two and no knowledge of where he was born. The man is later ruled out.
– May 2015: Ben”s family make a fresh appeal on Greek television for information regarding the disappearance.
– May 2016: The Sun newspaper publishes a report that members of the police operation go on an “eight-hour booze-up” in Kos during the latest stage of the investigation.
– September 2016: Ben”s family are told to “prepare for the worst” by detectives leading the investigation, amid the belief the 21-month-old was crushed to death by a digger – the driver of which died in 2015. It comes as police arrive in Kos to begin excavation work in the belief the boy”s remains may be buried near the farmhouse
– October 16 2016: Officers formally end a three-week search of two sites on Kos. Detectives said they had accumulated more than 60 items of interest that would be brought back to the UK for forensic testing.
– October 17 2016: South Yorkshire Police announces that it believes Ben died as a result of an accident near to the farmhouse where he disappeared.
Det Insp Cousins said the case would remain open once his team returned to the UK.
“We remain committed to the investigation and it will not simply close,” he said.
It comes after the 21-month old toddler”s grandmother Christine Needham revealed the horrifying moment Ben went missing 25 years ago.
She later passed out on the road as she realised the tiny toddler was probably dead.
Mum Kerry said she wanted to “tear up the whole island” to find her son.
“He didn”t leave Kos, he didn”t walk away… Somebody didn”t take him, so he”s here somewhere.
“I want to tear up the whole island to find him.”