September 25, 2019
It’s been 38 years since toddler Katrice Lee, from Hartlepool, vanished during a shopping trip with her mother and aunt at a Naafi supermarket near a British military based in Paderborn, Germany.
Katrice Lee: Arrest Made In 38-Year-Old Cold Case That Saw Toddler Vanish On Her Second Birthday
The family were living where Katrice’s father Richard, a soldier, was stationed.
It was Katrice’s second birthday, and they were shopping for celebratory treats when her mother Sharon realised in the checkout line that she had forgotten crisps and asked Katrice’s sister to watch her.When she returned in what she has estimated was less than a minute, Katrice was gone. Her sister said Katrice had run after her, and she believed they were together.
No trace of Katrice has ever been found, and the possibility remains that she is still alive. She would now be aged 40, and would have little memory of her early years, investigators believe.
Military police reportedly began searching a terraced house in the Moredon area of Swindon on Monday, and on Wednesday specialist teams were seen using ground-penetrating radar in the garden.
On Tuesday an Army spokesman said: “We can confirm that an arrest was made on September 23 by the Royal Military Police in connection with the disappearance of Katrice Lee in 1981.“As this is an ongoing investigation we cannot comment further at this stage.”
An Army spokesman refused to give the gender or age of the arrested person, nor what they had been arrested on suspicion of, but one local newspaper reports it is an elderly man.
News website Wiltshire 999 added: “It’s understood a black box measuring about one foot was recovered from the garden.”
Katrice’s father, a retired sergeant major, told the Mirror that he had been made aware an arrest would be made.
He said: “This arrest 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 we will get answers.”
In a post on Twitter, the Help Find Katrice account said: “Following recent events in Swindon we will be making no comments until we know for sure what is happening.
“The family ask that people refrain from speculation at this time so as not to jeopardise any future proceedings. #WeLiveInHope #KatriceLee”.Following recent events in Swindon we will be making no comments until we know for sure what is happening.The family ask that people refrain from speculation at this time so as not to jeopardise any future proceedings.#WeLiveInHope#KatriceLee— Where is Katrice Lee (@HelpFindKatrice) September 24, 2019Katrice’s case was reopened in 2012 by the Royal Military Police in what was called Operation Bute after chiefs admitted mistakes were made during the initial investigation, and in 2017 the government agreed to review the case.
Last year, a section of the Alme river bank in Paderborn, were excavated as part of the renewed investigation into Katrice’s disappearance, which concluded the area was “significant and of interest”.
Excavation of the river bank started in early May and was scheduled to take five weeks, but the military said investigators were able to conclude work faster than planned, with more than 100 soldiers taking part.
Bone fragments were unearthed, but tests confirmed they were not human, and the renewed investigation was determined to have turned up no new leads on what had happened to Katrice, a spokesman said.
At the same time, senior investigating officer Richard O’Leary of the RMP renewed an appeal for information about a man seen at the shopping centre, placing a child matching the toddler’s description into a green saloon car.
“A green saloon car was also seen on the River Alme Bridge near the NAAFI the day after Katrice disappeared. It may or may not be the same car, but we are very keen to identify this car,” he added.A photo-fit of the man was reissued as part of the fresh appeal, and residents in the Paderborn area who owned such a car were asked to approach the police so they could be ruled out the inquiry.
Katrice was born with a distinctive eye condition in her left eye which would have required two medical operations to correct.
The police released an age progression image of what Katrice may look like now. O’Leary said: “If anyone feels they know someone who looks like this, or believes they could be Katrice, then we would encourage them to come forward.”
Speaking to the BBC, Katrice’s father, who has always believed that his daughter was abducted, said: “I believe that we should now be looking at a public inquiry into the treatment of the family through all of this and the way in which the case has been handled.
“If things had been done in 1981 we wouldn’t still be going through this now.”Related... Google Earth Solves Mystery Of Man Who Vanished 22 Years Ago By Locating His Skeletal Remains How Two Teenage Fugitives Wanted For Murder Led Canadian Police On A 2,000 Mile Manhunt British Millionaire Shot 3 Times By Model Ex-Girlfriend Was 'Unlawfully Killed'
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