MISSING Ben Needham’s mum has offered her support to Katrice Lee’s family after a man was arrested 38 years after the two-year-old vanished.
Kerry Needham reached out to her family following the news a former serviceman was detained in connection with her disappearance.
Her own son Ben vanished aged just 21 months while he was staying with his grandparents in Kos in 1991.
Writing on the Help Find Ben Needham Facebook page, Kerry said there is “always hope” when it comes to unsolved cases.
She continued: “There’s always hope and things always move forward.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Katrice’s family.”
She was flooded with support from Facebook users, who also passed on their wishes to Katrice’s family.
One wrote: “Oh my hopefully they find Katrice now. hope 1 day soon wee Ben [will be] brought home xx.”
Also touching on the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann, who vanished in Portugal in May 2007, another added: “Hope Katrice‘s family get the answers they need. As do i I pray the same for Ben’s and Madeleine.”
REAL-LIFE ‘THE MISSING’
Both Ben and Katrice vanished in chillingly similar circumstances just ten years apart – with no trace of the youngsters ever since.
On November 28, 1981, Katrice went missing in a supermarket on an Army base in Paderborn, Germany, where she lived with her mum Sharon, dad Richard and sister Natasha.
Natasha previously described Katrice’s disappearance as “every parent’s worst nightmare” after her mum turned her back for 30 seconds and never saw her daughter again.
Natasha, from Gosport, Hants, previously told The Sun Online: “My dad came home and told me they couldn’t find Katrice but I couldn’t comprehend it at the time.
“We went out in the car and I remember looking at my mum and she was just screaming and screaming and I realised then something was seriously wrong.
“I was just sat in the back of the car thinking, ‘Oh my God,’ as my mum let out this bloodcurdling scream. I’d never heard it before and never heard it since.”
Thirty eight years later her fate remains a mystery — echoing BBC drama The Missing’s second series, in which a young girl vanishes from a base for British forces in Germany.
‘I WILL NEVER GIVE UP HOPE’
Royal Military Police announced this week they had arrested an ex-serviceman in connection with her disappearance but he has since been released without charge.
A terraced house in Swindon is being searched by officers, and neighbours reported that an item had been recovered from beneath the back garden patio.
Katrice’s dad, former Staff Sergeant Richard Lee, 69, has vowed to never give up hope and believes his daughter was abducted by another family to raise her as their own,
He said: “When I look back to 1981 I never gave up then and I haven’t given up now. I have never believed Katrice is dead.
“If I didn’t believe she was alive and somewhere out in the world living and breathing, I would not have been able to continue so long in this desperate search for her.
“Sometimes it’s like living with a torture, your mind turns over and over looking for explanations.”
Ben meanwhile was staying on the Greek island of Kos when he disappeared on July 24, 1991 – just three months shy of his second birthday.
Cops believe he was killed after being hit by a digger while playing with a toy car, which was discovered during a dig on the island last year.
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In 2016, detectives from South Yorkshire police travelled to Kos in a renewed attempted to finally discover what had happened to Ben.
Kerry was given fresh hope when they unearthed both a sandal and a toy car specked with tiny drops of blood.
But the devastated mum’s hopes were dashed last November, when forensic tests revealed that it did not match Ben’s DNA.
Richard Lee continues to hold onto the hope that his daughter Katrice could be alive[/caption]
Specialist teams search the garden of a house in Swindon in connection with Katrice’s disappearance[/caption]