What happened to Katrice Lee and when did the British toddler go missing?

What happened to Katrice Lee and when did the British toddler go missing?

- in Usa News

KATRICE Lee went missing on her second birthday from a shopping centre in Germany and has never been found.

As police make an arrest in the 37-year-old case, here’s what you need to know about the British toddler.

Katrice Lee vanished without a trace in 1981
Katrice Lee vanished without a trace in 1981

Who was Katrice Lee?

Katrice Lee was the daughter of Richard Lee, a British solider, and Sharon Lee.

She was born on November 28, 1979 at the British Military Hospital in Rinteln, West Germany, and lived with her parents and sister Natasha in Paderborn.

The family were living in Germany as Richard was stationed at the British Army base near Paderborn with his regiment 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars.

Despite living her entire life in Germany, Katrice could only speak English.

When did the British toddler go missing near Paderborn?

Katrice went missing on her second birthday, November 28, 1981.

The two-year-old was at the nearby NAAFI shopping complex in Schloß Neuhaus shopping for birthday treats with her parents and her aunt Wendy.

As it was the last shopping day before Christmas the centre was very busy and as Katrice refused to ride in the shopping trolley she was carried around the supermarket by her mum Sharon.

Sharon put the little girl down at the checkout and briefly left her there before returning to find her daughter gone.

Initially her Aunt Wendy thought Katrice had tried to follow her mum up the aisle but she remained nowhere to be seen.

Military police and German civil police coordinated efforts and both believed she had fallen into the nearby River Lippe and drowned, but no body was ever found.

German police refused to go to the press for an appeal and it was six weeks before her disappearance was reported in the local newspaper.

This is what police believe Katrice would look like aged 39-years-old
This is what police believe Katrice would look like aged 39-years-old
PA:Press Association

How old would she be now?

Katrice Lee would now be 39-years-old.

Police believe she was abducted from the NAAFI complex intentionally and may have been raised by another family in Europe and is unaware of her true identity.

What’s the latest?

On September 24, 2019, military police detained a suspect in Swindon, Wilts, over Katrice’s disappearance.

An item was also recovered from a back garden after officers dug up the patio at a row of terraced houses in Swindon, witnesses say.

A neighbour told The Sun: “Forensic teams in white suits started in the middle of the garden and then began taking up the patio slabs.

“Around 2pm they found a small black package.

“It looked like some kind of bag. They stopped for an hour and then continued to dig using tools until late into the night.”

What did her dad say?

Her dad, Richard Lee, has revealed he is feeling “raw” after the arrest “brought it all back”.

The 69-year-old retired sergeant major, told the Mirror: “We all want answers, we’ve been to hell and back over the past 37 years.

“This arrest of course brings it all back and makes it feel raw.

“As with parents in all cases of missing children, we want a happy ending but that might not be the case and we just hope that we will get answers.”

What have previous police investigations found?

No trace of Katrice was found in the initial investigation in 1981 despite dredging the river and house-to-house efforts.

Her case was reopened in 2000 after police used computer technology to produce an image of how she would look.

People came forward to the police who had not been interviewed during the original investigation, including a young man who had been behind Lee at the checkout.

A woman came forward to say her boyfriend at the time, who was in the same regiment as Katrice’s father, had confessed to murdering a child.

The man had moved to Northumbria and denied the confession when police interviewed him and his ex-girlfriend who gave the information died shorty after, ending the lead.

In 2008 Katrice’s disappearance was featured on BBC’s Missing Live which a digital image of how she would look aged 29 and her sister appeared on Crimewatch to highlight the appeal.

The shows sparked three calls with possible sightings of Katrice and an anonymous woman phoned Richard Lee telling him to look for his daughter in France.

However, none of the calls resulted in Katrice being found.

In 2017 cops released a picture of the man they believe to be responsible for kidnapping the toddler in 1981 after an eye witness came forward claiming they saw a man carrying a small child and putting her into a car in the area Katrice was snatched from.

In 2018 cops began a five-week forensic search of the riverbank near where she went missing.

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