THE family of Katrice Lee have spoken of their torment after a woman claiming to be the missing girl sent them abusive messages on Facebook.
A 32-year-old woman first contacted Katrice’s sister Natasha, 38, of Gosport, on Facebook, claiming that she was Katrice.
The toddler went missing when she was two, on November 28, 1981 from a NAAFI store in Paderborn, Germany.
Natasha and Katrice’s mother, Sharon, 59, also of Gosport, immediately contacted the Royal Military Police, which is currently re-investigating the girl’s disappearance.
But inquiries made by the RMP, which included a DNA test, proved the woman from Bishop Auckland in County Durham was not Katrice.
The woman then became abusive, sending upsetting messages to both Sharon and Natasha on Facebook.
Sharon said: ‘It’s very frustrating from me and Natasha’s point of view, to sit here and get abusive messages.
‘One in particular told me that it was my fault that I let my child loose in the supermarket.
‘She had four kids of her own and she’d never lost one of those.
‘If that hits you in the wrong frame of mind it can be very upsetting.’
Natasha said the woman used different aliases to contact both her and Sharon, along with friends of the family but has not contacted her for more than a month.
‘I just, I don’t know, with what’s happened, in the sense that its gone the other way that it’s turned out quite horrible, I felt quite angry,’ Natasha said.
‘It’s been very emotional and quite distressing for us.’
Sharon said this was not the first time that someone had claimed to be Katrice.
She said: ‘I have to, if you like, step out of the fact that I’m the mother of Katrice Lee and I have to be clinical about it.
‘I think to myself that there’s a person out there who thinks she is my daughter, they must have a reason for thinking that way but then that’s not up to me to follow that through.’
Police from Durham Constabulary have confirmed that the woman has been given a warning.
Kate English, a spokeswoman for the force, said: ‘Following an allegation of online harassment by family in the Hampshire area, a harassment warning was issued to a 32-year-old woman from the Bishop Auckland area.’
As reported in The News on Friday, both Sharon and Natasha received an apology from the head of the RMP, Brigadier Bill Warren when he admitted there were mistakes made during the original investigation in 1981.
It came at a meeting on Thursday between Natasha, Sharon, Gosport’s MP Caroline Dinenage and defence minister Mark Francois.