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Friday, November 13, 1998 Published at 23:22 GMT


Greek police say boy is not Ben

Ben: Missing since 1991

Greek police have said that a blond-haired boy seen playing on a Rhodes beach is not the missing British boy Ben Needham.

They said the boy, videotaped by a British tourist on the Haraki beach in 1996 and again last summer, is called Savvas Skyllarakis, and was born in a Rhodes hospital in 1991.

An investigation was launched at the Rhodes hospital where Savvas was born following newspaper reports that the child could be Ben.

The police statement followed a denial by the Greek boy's parents, Nico and Panagiota Skyllarakis, that their son was Ben - who disappeared, aged 21-months-old, on the Greek island of Kos in 1991.

Massive hunt

Police on Rhodes said the doctor who delivered Savvas, had confirmed that the boy was the child of the Greek couple who lived in the village of Malona on the island.

It added that a paediatrician who had been following the child's general health since his birth, had also confirmed the boy's identity.

"This too is confirmed by signatures and entries in the boy's health booklet," the statement to the Athens News Agency added.

[ image: Ben's family have not given up hope of finding him]
Ben's family have not given up hope of finding him
Despite a massive hunt following his disappearance, Ben has never been found.

His family, who live in Sheffield, had been given fresh hope by holidaymaker John Cookson, who spotted a boy answering Ben's description in Rhodes and returned to Britain with one of his hairs.

Police in Britain are to conduct DNA tests on the hair to see if it belongs to Ben. The results are expected to take a month.

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