The daughter of a British Army sergeant vanished on her second birthday –
November 28, 1981 – from a NAAFI store in Schloß Neuhaus near Paderborn, where dad Richard was serving.
Now military police have released an e-fit image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the case.
Operation Bute is a fresh investigation and the Royal Military Police is carefully reviewing all evidence in relation to the disappearance of Katrice Lee in conjunction with new evidence received.
To date approximately 11,000 documents, including eyewitness statements, have been analysed.
The original e-fit was produced in 1981 and was deemed useful to the
new investigation, so the RMP is appealing for fresh information from it. It was featured in a recent episode of Crimewatch on the BBC.
An eyewitness is said to have seen a man at the time of the disappearance carrying a small child into a green saloon.
WO1 Richard O’Leary, from the Royal Military Police, told the programme: “We have a witness who has produced a photofit of a man seen holding a child similar to Katrice and getting into the back of a green car.
“We want to know who that person is and if anyone can come forward.
“We have had some information back, and need to check and verify those details, but we were really grateful to receive that information and we will check.
“The Katrice Lee family have had a 36-year nightmare, not knowing what has happened to their daughter or sister.”
“If we can help solve what happened to Katrice and give them some sort of resolution, that would be really good.
He added: “If someone does know what happened to Katrice we’d like them to come forward, or if they had a green car themselves and had a child similar-looking to Katrice, we’d like them to come forward so we can eliminate them.
“There were 1,500 people in the shop that day so someone will have seen what happened.”
Katrice, who was born in BMH Rinteln, vanished while she was shopping for party food with her mother on her second birthday. Mrs Lee was paying for goods at the counter and when she turned round, Katrice had gone.
At the time of her disappearance she was wearing red wellington boots, a turquoise duffel coat, a green and blue tartan pinafore dress with a white blouse underneath it and white tights.
Katrice’s mother Sharon and sister Natasha, both of Gosport, Hants, welcomed the breakthrough on the BBC’s Crimewatch as an e-fit image was released of the man police are seeking.
Sharon told the media: “Today I could be sitting here being a grandmother and I know nothing about that.
“I’ve missed my daughter growing up, I’ve missed her teenage years. On Mother’s Day I’m always a card short.”
International appeals made since her disappearance have failed to help find the toddler, but her heartbroken family have never given up hope of Katrice being found alive.
Former soldier Richard Lee, who lives in Hartlepool and served with 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars, said: “We all live in hope, a lot of people have said to me how do I maintain hope, all I can say is hope maintains me.
“At the end of the day this is about a girl who has been missing and I want her back.”
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