MILITARY police have made an arrest over the disappearance of toddler who vanished nearly 38 years ago as her dad said: ‘We’ve been to hell and back.’
Little Katrice Lee went missing in November 1981 on her second birthday at a supermarket in Paderborn, West Germany, where her Gosport-based mother Sharon and sister Natasha lived with dad Richard Lee.
Yesterday Royal Military Police, who are re-investigating the case after decades of campaigning from the Lee family, confirmed they had arrested a person. They would not say on suspicion of what offence or anything about the person’s identity.
Military police in forensic suits were digging a garden in Swindon yesterday with one onlooker telling the Swindon Advertiser officers were ‘digging for hours and hours’ and apparently found an object.
The dig site in Moredon, Swindon, has been a hive of activity since Monday, according to reports.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror last night, 69-year-old former sergeant major Mr Lee, divorced from Sharon and living in Hartlepool, said: ‘We all want answers, we’ve been to hell and back over the past 38 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.’
Devastated Natasha, 45, wore a red button from her missing sister’s cardigan sewn into her wedding dress last year.
She has described military police searching the Alme River in Germany last year as a ‘bombshell’. Officers found bone fragments that proved not to be human.
Earlier this year she told The Sun: ‘The perfect end for us would be that she lived a happy life and the worst case is that she’s dead – although at least then we would have a grave to grieve over.
‘It’s a horrible Catch 22 to be in. We just want to know if she is dead or alive.’
An Army spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that an arrest was made on 23 September 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.’
The Royal Military Police launched its re-investigation in 2012.
In November of that year The News followed Natasha as they marched on Downing Street demanding then prime minister David Cameron order the release of case files for an independent review.
The RMP has since the force released an e-fit of a man they wanted to speak via the BBC’s Crimewatch in 2017. Family members have been supported by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.