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Hunt for Madeleine stirs memories of Ben Needham

Original Source: REUTERS-3 : 09 MAY 2007
Wed May 9, 2007 8:06PM BST
LONDON (Reuters) - The mother of Ben Needham, who vanished as a toddler on a Greek island in 1991, said her heart goes out to the parents of Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old feared abducted in Portugal.

Kerry Grist, 34, said the girl's mother, Kate McCann, would feel as though "her heart's been ripped out" after her daughter disappeared from an Algarve holiday village last Thursday.

"It was like a mirror image -- the look on her face, the fear, the worry, everything. It was like seeing myself 15 years ago," Grist told BBC radio on Tuesday.

"She is going to have a lot of different emotions. She's going to be really frightened of not knowing what's happened to Madeleine, very confused ... feel like her heart's been ripped out."

On Monday, the McCanns, from Leicestershire, made an emotional appeal for the safe return of their daughter.

"Please, please do not hurt her. Please do not scare her. Please tell us where to find her or put her in a place of safety," family doctor Kate McCann, 38, told a news conference.

The hunt for the missing girl has stirred painful memories for the family of Ben Needham, who disappeared in July 1991 as he played outside a house on the Aegean island of Kos. He was 21 months old.

Despite repeated appeals for information and numerous possible sightings, few clues have emerged over his whereabouts. His mother said she suspected he was abducted and sold to a childless couple.

"In the first few days, weeks and months that Ben had disappeared, we never thought for one minute that somebody would have abducted him," she said. "We always thought that he may have wandered off, somebody may have found him.

"You live every day thinking that somebody's just going to walk back through the door with him.

"In my heart, I feel that if I thought for one minute that Ben were no longer alive, I would have given up by now.

"I can't, there's something that drives me on to keep looking -- keep looking and keep fighting for him."


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