Ben Needham sister: We remain hopeful he's still out there

The younger sister of missing toddler Ben Needham has said the family is determined to continue searching for him and "still remain hopeful he's out there."

On Sunday, police found a toy car which they claimed to have belonged to Ben on the day he disappeared, before he died in an accident.

However speaking to Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, Leigh-Anna Needham dismissed their claim and said finding the toy "doesn't actually say anything to me".

"It could be Ben's, but it could also not be Ben's. We can't say for definite that it is Ben's toy car - that could've been any toy.

"I still remain hopeful that he's out there. The toy car's been shown to my mum and to my grandparents - my mum obviously broke down. They vaguely remember a toy car but... my nan is only 90% sure that it was similar to the one that Ben had.

"Over the three weeks [of digging], police have come across a number of toys. That farmhouse has been a family home to many people throughout many generations."

Holding back tears, she said her family has been going through a torturous time and felt "half-angry" at the authorities who have so far failed to find definitive proof that he died.

"We've been stuck in limbo for 25 years. I don't think my grandparents can take much more of this. It's absolutely destroyed my family and now I'm even more determined to find out what happened on that day.

Ben Needham vanished on the Greek island of Kos in 1991. Credit: Reuters

"I'm sort of half-angry they didn't find anything, because we were told to prepare for the worst and we believed... that we were going to find him, bring him back with the grieving process.

"We would [have closure] and we could try and move on with our lives."

For the past three weeks, members of the Greek rescue service on the island of Kos have been assisting a specialist search team from South Yorkshire Police.

Detective Inspector John Cousins, speaking to reporters on Monday, said he believed Ben died after a "digger accident."

However it is a theory Leigh-Anne refuses to believe without "definitive proof".

She said: "It's based on probable doubt. That's what they believe may have happened to Ben without definitive proof, without any form of remains, then I will always remain hopeful that he's out there."

South Yorkshire Police sift through rubble in their search for Ben Needham. Credit: Reuters

Leigh-Anna never met her elder brother as she was born three years after the 21-month-old disappeared on the Greek island, but has vowed to continue searching for him.

"I never met him but the bond that I feel for him - at the end of the day he's my flesh and blood. If it was me that was missing or me that was lost I wouldn't want anyone to give up on me at the last hurdle. We've fought for 25 years - I'm not about to stop now.

"We've got to sit down as a family and see where we go from here. We've funded everything on our own anyway - if it means we have to continue doing that then so be it."

She said the family were given the option of going to the farmhouse "to say goodbye", but it's something "they can't do".

"It's not something we can do, because there's no proof that he's there so how can we say goodbye to someone knowing that there is still that hope?

"When there is still that hope there is still a fight. I'm prepared to fight tooth and nail until I get to the bottom of this."