THE FATHER of a young girl who went missing almost 37 years ago said he remains hopeful she will be found – after a five-week search for clues came to an end.
Katrice Lee went missing from a NAAFI supermarket in Germany, on her second birthday on November 28, 1981.
Royal Military Police (RMP) investigators carried out a forensic excavation of the bank of the River Alme, near Paderborn, where it was believed her body could have been buried.
Katrice’s mum Sharon and sister Natasha live in Gosport.
Her father Richie Lee, 68, who lives in Hartlepool, said the result of the excavation confirms the family’s conviction that Katrice was abducted to be a surrogate child for another family, and that he will one day learn the truth of what happened to her.
Richie said: ‘The Royal Military Police turned round and said they found bone fragments they believe not to be that of Katrice, however, they have to send that for DNA testing and if necessary carbon dating.
‘I told the media that I will get Katrice back if the correct information is put out there.’
Katrice’s family long-criticised the initial investigation by the RMP.
They demanded to see the case files, and were backed by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.
The River Alme riverbank was highlighted as being of interest as it was where a green saloon car, similar to one that a child matching Katrice’s description was seen getting in, was sighted the day after she went missing.
Richie, who was based in Germany with the British Army when Katrice went missing, added: ‘You have got missing peoples bureaux that need to talk to each other across Europe and exchange information on children that are missing and maybe I will get the answers to where Katrice is.
‘I get the impression the Royal Military Police are waiting for something to come forward.
‘We can’t do that because time is marching on.’