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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
New missing Ben picture released
Artist's impression of Ben Needham
Ben Needham went missing from outside a farmhouse on Kos
An artist's impression of how a missing toddler would look 16 years after his disappearance has been produced to coincide with his 18th birthday.

Ben Needham vanished from outside a farmhouse on the Greek island of Kos in 1991, when he was just 21 months old.

It was drawn at the request of Ben's mother, Kerry Grist, from Sheffield.

She said she hoped it would prompt Ben to question who he was and added: "My message is find me and I'll be here for you."

The picture was produced by the Metropolitan Police facial imaging team and is to be posted on the National Missing Persons website.

In my heart I feel that if I thought for even one minute that Ben was no longer alive, I would have given up by now .
Kerry Grist, Ben's mother

Mrs Grist said she had never given up hope that Ben, who would be 18 on 29 October, was alive.

Sending a message to her son, she said: "Find who you are. If you're out there - I know he's out there somewhere - if you've got any suspicion about your life, follow it up, go with your heart and find me because I've tried and I've tried and I've tried for 16 years to find you."

Mrs Grist's son Ben has not been seen since his disappearance from the house her parents and brother were renovating, despite appeals by his family and the British authorities over the years.

Theories have included that Ben, whose grandparents are originally from Lincolnshire, was killed, abducted or sold on to a family who could not have a child, but police have never closed the file.

Kerry Grist, Ben's mother
Mrs Grist appealed for her son to find her

Mrs Grist said that in the beginning it did not enter their heads that Ben might have been abducted.

"You live every day just thinking someone is going to walk back through the door with him," she said.

But his family have never given up hope of finding him. They believe he was "taken to order", passing through the hands of child smuggling gangs and could be "anywhere in the world".

Mrs Grist said: "There is no evidence at all in the past nearly 16 years to say that Ben is dead."

She said she now wanted to raise publicity about what Ben might look like as he reached adulthood.

"Ben will be 18 at the end of this month and legally he's an adult, so he can make his own decisions in his life - apply for a passport, driving licence, identity cards," she said.

"I want to make all these people aware to look out for somebody who resembles this picture and if they think there's anything suspicious to get in touch."

Mrs Grist added: "In my heart I feel that if I thought for even one minute that Ben was no longer alive, I would have given up by now - and I can't.

"There is something that drives me on to keep looking, keep looking and keep fighting for him."

Interview with Ben's mother, Kerry Grist

Missing Ben mother in fresh plea
01 Jun 07 |  South Yorkshire

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